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Renault Twizy Electric Minicar: What Would You Like To Know?

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Renault Twizy Z.E. electric vehicle

Renault Twizy Z.E. electric vehicle

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Electric cars have some clear benefits over combustion-engined equivalents--zero local emissions, inexpensive "refuelling", luxury-car levels of refinement from silent powertrains--there's a lot to like.

But what about pushing the boundaries of engineering? Freed from the constraints of the regimented shape of an engine, transmission and related ancillaries, engineers are free to explore other avenues in transport.

One of those avenues was taken by French carmaker Renault, when it designed the Twizy. We'll be driving a production Twizy over the next couple of days, so this is your opportunity to ask us questions about one of the most unusual electric cars yet.

Of course, there are no plans to launch the Twizy in the U.S, though we have seen it as a rebadged Nissan concept. However, it's so much of a departure from what we expect from a car, that the concept has intrigued us ever since the first concept was released.

In Europe, two variants will go on sale, one with 17 horsepower and a top speed of 50 mph, and another with a top speed of only 28 mph--essentially a neigborhood electric vehicle (NEV), designed for European countries where drivers of 14-15 years old can use low-powered vehicles without a license.

The tandem-seat Twizy is designed exclusively as a city vehicle, with a 60-mile range, very little equipment and only half-doors. However, it'll also be one of the cheapest electric cars on sale in Europe, starting from around $10,600, with $70 per month battery rental.

So what would you like to know about Renault's electric baby? Leave your questions in the comments section below, and we'll do our best to answer them.

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Comments (16)
  1. First, I am very jealous.

    Second, What is it like in the rain? Do you need full rain gear or is there enough protection to just wear a raincoat.
     
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  2. Having checked the weather forecast, I might get to try the weather protection first-hand!
     
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  3. This vehicle seems like it's halfway between a moped and a car. Where will you be driving it and do you get a sense of maneuverability similar to navigating a scooter around a European city? Can you try driving it like a scooter, snaking through inner city traffic? Can you try parking it on the sidewalk, chained to a lamp post?
     
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  4. The test should include some city work and some open road driving. Thanks for your questions, I'll make a note of them!
     
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  5. Which variant are you driving? What is actual max speed? How well does it accelerate and climb hills? Does it have regen? What does it offer by way of infotainment systems (radio, etc.)? Does your text model have doors? Are they full doors to enclose cabin completely, or 1/2 doors. What is the wind noise like - can two passengers talk without screaming. Drive through a puddle fast while turning left - do you get wet? How loud is the motor and drive-train? How large is the storage and does it lock? What does horn sound like?

    I would buy a quadricycle like the Opel RAK-e or similar, if they were available in the US and priced $10K - $12K.
     
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  6. Hi Jason, I think you'll find all the information at Renault's link
    http://www.renault.es/gama-renault/gama-vehiculos-electricos/twizy/twizy-new/home/index.jsp
     
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  7. Thanks for all the questions Jason, I'll try and get answers to as many as possible from my drive.
     
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  8. You will need to wear colorful cothing and a red bulbous nose estension when you drive this clown car. Its stuff like this that makes people think an EV has to be less of a car than ICE car is. I am tired of all the glorified electric golf cart like EV's being shown by these manufactures. Renault was Infamaous for the Le Car remember that!. Only Tesla seems to realize that you have to build and EV not just as good but better than ICE car in the price range its to be sold in to be sucessful.
     
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  9. Mark, I've said much the same thing for years, but now that the Chevy Volt, Fisker Karma, Tesla Roadster & Model S, Ford Focus EV, etc. are now available, my complaints have subsided. There does need to be something for everyone, so there is room for moon buggies in the marketplace. That said, check out the quadricycle concepts that Audi, VW and Opel are offering, and you will see that they are far more conventional looking, albeit in tandem configurations. Many European auto analysts are insisting that partially or fully enclosed quadricycles will be an important market segment in the near future, due to the steeply increasing sales of electric bicycles and scooters in Europe.
     
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  10. I would rather go out and get a small used car then an open air moon buggy. I feel that these EV concept vehicles are doing a disservice to how good an EV can really be. Ford chose to use the Focus platform for its EV and designed it to look nice while Nissan put a bit of look at me I am an enviromentalist look in the Leaf. The Leaf is still nice and practical although far to range comprimised for my driving. Give me and others 120+ miles and you would have lots of buyers. The Leaf makes for a nice second car but you still need to own a gasser if you want to go visit family out of town and need to use the interstate. I heard that at 70mph the range of the Leaf drops to about 60 miles max so its not a good car to go on a road trip with.
     
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  11. Thanks for your comments Mark, though I fear you're forgetting about a mystical land called "Europe" where small cars actually do rather well and cities are full to the brim with Smart ForTwos and scooters - the very cities that cars like the Twizy are aimed at. Likewise the Renault Le Car, or Renault 5 as it was known in Europe, was hugely successful, like many small cars over there.
     
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  12. At least you can drive the Smartfortwo in the rain and sleet/snow and while its cold outside unlike this open air Moon buggy. I just can't imagine a vehicle like this being a big seller even in Europe?. I could see someone driving around their retirement community in it sort of like an electric golf cart only better though or at a Sandels resort in the Bahamas.
     
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  13. By and large the weather is pretty clement in more southerly regions of Europe most of the year round. I expect for many it'll be a sort of half-way between a scooter (of which there seem to be billions in every European city) and proper cars. And although you may get a bit of water coming through the windows, it's likely to offer more protection from the elements than a scooter. Not to mention crash protection, of course.

    As I hinted above to Mr Briggs, the weather forecast for the drive is showing light rain, so I may get to test at least some of its weatherproofing capabilities on the drive.
     
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  14. Well, I was thinking that you might stay drier in a Twizy than I do when I am on my bicycle.
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  15. I'm looking at the body shell and windscreen and wondering if I could rip it off one of these and bolt it on to a recumbent trike, add e-assist then legally ride up and down the SW corridor and emerald necklace paths, in all weather conditions, without worrying about finding a parking spot.
     
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  16. I thought the Gem car was gone and buried...this type of EV does not help electric vehicles become more mainstream, IMHO.
     
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