Renault Twizy Cargo: Electric City Car Loses Seat, Gains Cargo Space

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Removing equipment from a car isn't usually the way to make it more appealing, but a new variant of the Renault Twizy city car may have done just that.

Called the Renault Twizy Cargo, the French automaker has removed the rear seat from the Twizy's normal tandem layout, replacing it with a larger storage area now accessible via a hatch at the rear of the vehicle.

Not only does it now offer 6.3 cubic feet of storage volume--just 1.4 cu-ft less than that of the Smart Fortwo, and hugely greater than the Twizy's normal trunk space--it also costs less to buy and run.

That's because, as a commercial vehicle, business users in the UK and other European countries can reclaim the car's purchase tax, or VAT.

That saves $1,000 on the cost of a normal Twizy (down to around $9,600), while running costs are reduced too, since business users can also reclaim VAT on the monthly battery lease.

Renault Twizy Electric Minicar First Drive Report: Video

For anyone able to register the car as a business expense, it means the Twizy Cargo makes more sense than the standard vehicle. Consider the standard car's meager rear passenger accommodation, and using that space to store luggage seems a little more attractive.

Renault says the Twizy Cargo would be perfect for IT engineers and their tools, or perhaps pizza delivery--the rear cargo space able to take a stack of pizza boxes.

Range is the same 50-or-so miles as the standard car, while charging from a normal European 220-240V wall socket takes 3.5 hours from empty.

The Twizy Cargo's launch coincides with Renault's "design your own Twizy" scheme, allowing potential customers to pick from 43 colors and 30 pre-designed wraps to personalize their vehicles.

Naturally, and sadly for some, the Renault Twizy remains a Europe-only vehicle. But with a lower price, expect to see a few more of them running around on your next holiday or business trip.


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Comments (6)
  1. This car is awesome. It really is sad it's only available in Europe. All big cities should have such an option.

  2. It would be a nice step up for us from our GEM car that I modified to go 40 mph. One day maybe!

  3. The Twizzy would never be able to meet USA collision testing laws. It is a small personal form of transportation that was never designed with America in mind. It is every thing a traditional manufacturer would want in an electric car. In other words not practical and does not meet safety requirements for sale in the United States. The Tesla Model S is awesome. Vehicles like the twizzy only reinforce the stereotype that an EV is less of a vehicle than a gasoline powered car.

  4. @ Mark Stang ... "that was never designed with America in mind" - er, you mean it's too small for the typical US derrière, I suppose? I also imagine you have not had a drive in one? Why is it people feel so free to opine so ruthlessly on that of which they have no experience? Don't you feel so dim when you realise you have committed your ill-informed tosh not just to paper but to potentially everyone in the entire internet-reading world? The only problem with the Twizy is the lack of windows - and that makes it impractical in any country where it rains regularly. As for safety, it actually does quite well and has airbags - more than you get with a motorcycle, for instance. Or are they not 'designed for America' either?

  5. It's a cute niche car, but in urban America most folks don't have access to charging infrastructure, so the folks who would actually buy cars would demand more features, like adequate crash safety, air conditioning, the ability to travel 80mph for extended periods of time, etc.

    Motorcyclists in the US recognize the risk they take when they (we) ride, and don't expect any sort of protective structure. However, anything sold as a car needs to be unquestionably safe enough to pass FMVSS, and won't sell if they can't pass IIHS comfortably.

  6. @Martin: First, please stay polite in your comments.

    Second, Mark is correct. The Twizy would not meet U.S. crash-safety standards.

    If you don't know, cars can be homologated in Europe that do not come close to meeting North American safety standards. Ford had to spend more than $100 million re-engineering the structure of the Fiesta to pass North America's new crash tests before it could sell the car here.

    Nissan has no intention of selling the Twizy here (Renault has no sales presence at all). Low-speed neighborhood electric cars here are governed by a patchwork of local & state laws and can't use many public roads in some areas. It's not a relevant or important vehicle for the U.S.

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