Renault Twizy Electric Minicar On eBay: What You Need To Know

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Renault Twizy first drive, Ibiza

Renault Twizy first drive, Ibiza

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We've written about the Renault Twizy electric minicar on several occasions in the past.

After driving it in Ibiza we later tested it in the UK, and while flawed, it really does have appeal for those living in tight, crowded cities.

By European standards, most cities in Florida aren't too crowded. Yet that's where you'll find one of the only Twizys in the U.S, for sale on eBay.

It's so unusual to see--and begs so many questions--that we had to get in contact with the seller to find out more.

One of only a handful in the U.S.

Musician David Guetta apparently kicks around Los Angeles in a Twizy, thanks to his status as a Twizy brand ambassador for Renault.

But beyond that, there many only be a few in the entirety of North America.

One of those is currently owned by Uwe Renner, and is now up for sale. Uwe moved from Germany to the U.S. in 2008, after having sold Renaults in Germany for over 15 years.

Taken with the Twizy, Uwe ordered one--and went through the difficult process of importing it to the U.S. Unfortunately, the law would require Uwe to send it back after 12 months, so he then went through the steps to have it fully registered for the road in Florida.

That, says Uwe, makes the car road legal--and not just a neigborhood electric vehicle (NEV).

Insuring it through a specialist has been easy enough, and the car charges through a typical 240V dryer outlet in the garage--with an adapter. No special plug is required, as the charging cable on the Twizy is built in to the car, so an adapter for a wall outlet is the only necessary equipment.

The type of vehicle--a heavy quadricycle, as registered in Europe, avoids having to meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, and Uwe assures us everything was cleared with the DMV.

Battery lease complications

There is one thing that may put off potential buyers.

In Europe, Twizy drivers don't buy the battery with the car. Instead, they lease it from Renault for a set monthly cost, depending on mileage and the lease period.

Despite living in the U.S, Uwe is still paying this monthly lease cost--50 Euros per month, or around $64--to Renault in Germany.

The Twizy buyer would have two options. The first is that Uwe can transfer the lease to the new owner. The only issue with this is, the new owner would have to have a bank account and registered address in Germany.

Renault Twizy first drive, Ibiza

Renault Twizy first drive, Ibiza

Enlarge Photo

The alternative is to pay the money to Uwe in advance--$770 per year, for ten years. Uwe would continue paying the money himself in Germany. He admits it's largely a trust issue, and that factor alone may be enough to put off several potential customers.

He's still in talks with Renault about organizing a way to pay for the battery up-front to solve this issue--but Renault is currently reluctant.

Still, it's rare...

A Twizy certainly isn't for everyone, but the eventual buyer will have one of the rarest and most eye-catching vehicles in the U.S.

The 18-horsepower, 50 mph machine is great fun to drive, and should be simplicity itself to keep running. Official range is around 50 miles, if you can resist the urge (or necessity) to drive everywhere at full throttle.

The auction runs until 7:40am PST on November 4.


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Comments (8)
  1. Illustrates the issue with battery leasing. You only own half the vehicle. Messy, messy, messy.

    Makes me wonder how much legal recourse Renault would have if the Twizy owner stopped paying, particularly if the vehicle was sold to a third party. Would Renault repossess the battery and leave the owner with the vehicle? Then no one would benefit.

  2. It's certainly an awkward situation.

    On the other hand, I'd be intrigued to see how Renault would handle it. I expect it would go through German courts - though they'd have a hard time repossessing the battery from another country!

  3. That makes the $199 Leaf leasing deal sound 100x better.

    For $199 per month, NOT only you to lease the battery, but you also lease the car...

  4. Battery leasing is only done in an attempt to make EVs look cheaper. Your told the price of the car but then the finer details catch up. So owning a Leaf would be far less expensive in it's yearly cost of ownership. It's not right that you couldn't own this Twizy free and clear if that's what you wanted. I think it's stupid that you own the car but not the part that powers it. What's next are they going to put the motor on the options list?

  5. I definitely agree that, if you can buy the car, you should be able to buy the battery with it.

    Still, short of a strong warranty on capacity, which I think so far no EV vendor committed to, offering drivers the OPTION to lease the battery may be the next best thing.

    I would have gladly purchased a Leaf and leased its battery, if Nissan offered this.
    Think of this a combination of: piece of mind regarding young technology (NMC), and a variant on Tesla's "12k$ for a battery in 7 years".

  6. Although I appreciate your mis-trust, I think the objective was to offset the heavy cost of battery replacement and to assist owners in the event batteries would need to be replaced. Another advantage to the leasing that I can see is that battery technology is still not great but is advancing rapidly, if the battery is leased, it can be replaced with a newer tech one later without having to buy it. just my mostly unresearched opinion.

  7. Yep, I'd just stop paying...

  8. Just returned from Europe living in Florida. I want a Twizy. it would be a great weekend run about and perfect for my 6.5 mile drive to the office. How do I become a Twizy brand ambassador for Renault in Florida. I will take two. I don't think it would be hard to sell 50 or more in cities like Tampa, Orlando, and Miami

    All I want for Christmas is my Twizy!

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