Renault Twizy Urban
by Andy Enright
The Renault Twizy represents a fresh direction in electric vehicle development. With a 60-mile range and a 47mph top speed coupled with a three-and-a-half hour recharge time, the Spanish-built Twizy looks ideal for urban commuters with a garage in which to recharge overnight.
With prices starting at way below £7,000 for the entry-level Urban variant we look at here (excluding battery lease charges) it looks strong value too.
Looking nothing like a car means that you approach the Twizy unburdened by expectations for it to drive like a car and it doesn’t disappoint.
Yes, it has a steering wheel, windscreen and fore-aft seating but that’s about as far as the similarities go.
Unless you specify them as options, the Twizy has no doors so you can see the tarmac whizzing past, adding to the sensation of speed. You’ll also see the front wheels turning and you’ll get the wind in your hair. A bit.
Motive power comes courtesy of a 20bhp electric motor that drives the rear wheels and is mounted under the rear passenger seat.
Fully charging the battery from empty takes three and a half hours, after which the Twizy is claimed to run for up to 72 miles, depending on how enthusiastically you choose the pedal the thing.
Renault quotes a top speed of 47mph which is more than enough for urban use but a couple of colleagues have seen better than 50mph.
Unlike some electric vehicles that are spookily silent, the Twizy has a bit of motor whine but it’s nothing too intrusive.
Most electric vehicles look decidedly dorky. The Nissan LEAF’s appearance isn’t too exciting, the Mitsubishi i-MIEV and its Peugeot and Citroën doppelgängers are nearer the ticket but most have had to put up with vehicles like the G-Wiz, which looks broken even before you’ve managed to crash it.
The Twizy is different. It’s something you’d want to show off to your mates.
Twizy seats two, one behind the other and is tall and narrow. Thankfully all the weight is mounted down low so it never feels as if it’s going to tip over.
The ride is firm and it’ll understeer benignly if you fling it recklessly at a hairpin rather than gripping and flipping.
The Renault Twizy is the closest we’ve come to a real and workable electric vehicle solution.
Where it differs from its rivals is in offering the fun and manoeuvrability of a scooter with the controls, comfort and relative safety of a car.
By pricing it somewhere between the two and giving it some funky styling, Renault has created a formula that seems certain to succeed.
I’d have personally liked to see a scooter-sized ‘range-extender’ gasoline engine included to take the anxiety out of the Twizy’s countdown to zero volts, but Renault has stuck to the EV formula and done a great job of making the technology accessible and attractive. Especially in the no-frills ‘Urban’ form we’ve been looking at here. If I had a garage I’d be tempted.
FACTS AT A GLANCE
CAR: Renault Twizy Urban
PRICES: £6,690 plus £40pcm battery leasing fee
INSURANCE GROUP: 10
CO2 EMISSIONS: 0g/km
PERFORMANCE: top speed 47mph
FUEL CONSUMPTION: n/a - full charge gives 80 mile range
STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES: Seatbelts front and rear, driver airbag
WILL IT FIT IN YOUR GARAGE?: length/width/heightmm 2337/1191/1461