Sunday: big hills, big interest
With all the weeks’ chores out of the way, Sunday was more about having fun.
There also happened to be a local electric car meet-up, so I headed there, picking up a motorcycling friend on the way.
Even with another adult in the Twizy, it felt responsive and powerful enough in city traffic. Conversation was unexpectedly easy too, with only a few missed words here and there between myself and my passenger.
As expected, the Twizy continued to attract lots of attention, from electric car fans and regular drivers alike.
At the meet, it became the center of attention, even though it was parked alongside cars like the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt and Tesla Roadster.
The compliments the Twizy drew from the assembled crowd said it all.
“It’s quirky,” said one, while another commented that “It’s safer than a motorcycle.”
And it is. With a steel roll-cage, and driver airbags, there’s no need for motorcycle gear, making it less hassle to use.
But while it safer than a motorcycle, the tiny Twizy isn’t a full-blown car, and I admit that on faster roads, I felt a little vulnerable.
Nevertheless, after the meet, I headed back onto the open road, giving the Twizy one final big test: a steep hill.
Driving a 10 percent incline, the Twizy managed to keep its speed reasonably well, only slowing to 45 mph when hitting the very steepest 12 percent section.
Reversing the route in heavy rain, the Twizy felt more like a motorcycle than a car, again encouraging some spirited driving.
With foot completely off both accelerator and brake, it whizzed down the hillside. Even with regenerative braking on accelerator lift-off, the Twizy peaked at an astonishingly fast 55mph.
Even at those kind of speeds however, the Twizy felt reasonably sure-footed, only losing some of its composure on uneven road surfaces and very tight turns.
During my weekend with the Twizy, I managed to put 240 miles on the odometer, doing everything from kid taxi services to chores and even a fun drive.
Starting at just over $10,000, the tiny Twizy makes an excellent city and urban daily runabout, provided you don’t have far to travel or much to carry.
It’s cheap to operate too. With a $60 monthly battery rental and energy efficiency of around 8 miles per kilowatt-hour, it won’t impact your wallet much.
Kids love it too, while its conventional car-seat makes it safer for younger passengers than a motorcycle.
The Twizy’s open design and direct, responsive handling makes it the ideal vehicle for weekend fun, provided you have somewhere dry to store it and warm enough weather that the lack of windows won’t bother you.
But unless you’re young and single, the Twizy can’t be anything more than a second or third vehicle. Nor can it carry more than a few quarts of milk without it getting cramped.
At the start of the article, I asked a question: Is the Renault Twizy a real car?
No, it isn’t. But what it is, it does well. And that’s be the perfect mix between a motorcycle and an electric car.
And we have to admit, it beats every other neighborhood electric vehicle on the road today, even if it’s unlikely to ever go on sale in the U.S.