Renault took it to new extremes with this one. Or maybe new minimals is the right term. What’s its purpose?*
*Battery Sold Separately
So let’s say that you’re at a French dealership in 2012, looking at the new Renault Twizy. You sign all of the documentation, take the keys, and- what’s this? A subscription service? Not optional, what? That’s right, the battery (an essential part of an electric car mind you), is only available through a subscription service.
If you think that subscriptions are the ways of the future, Renault was eight years ahead of you. No matter what you think of that, at least roadside assistance was included. 2020 is the year to buy however, as the battery comes in the box this time.
Battery rentals aside, the Twizy is a one seater made for getting from point A to B in the cheapest way possible (sorry Fiat 500, you come in second). Having sold the most units of any plug-in electric car in 2012 Europe, you could say a decent number has been sold. And of course, if a car is sold, there must be a Chinese rip-off (see Rayttle E28).
You Get What You Pay For
The exterior is nice as it’s sort of different from anything else, but I would say the design has more functionality than the interior. Bare bones is a good description of the inside, from the mundane, grey plastic covering everything to the small display that tells you the charge, and what gear you’re in.
On a cold winter day in France, those who enjoy cold temperatures will love the Twizy, which has a lack of air conditioning/heating. If you don’t like the freezing weather, that’s okay, just make sure to bring your electric blanket, as the car actually supports those.
Now how does it perform on the track? Well, it doesn’t. Coming with 5.4 or 17 horsepower and a top speed of 50mph, you can forget about a speedy 0-60 (or one in general). Looks like it won’t be beating any Dodge Demons on the quarter mile. But wait! There’s the Twizy F1…
The Performance Model
Does anyone remember the Renault Espace F1 from the 90’s? A minivan, packed full of 800hp. I suppose that this Twizy F1 is a tribute, albeit not having 800 horses. Subtract about 700, keep the slicks, and now we’re talking. It barely hits 0-60 in 7 seconds, and of course, has a big spoiler on the back.
…the Renault Twizy is great for a niche of people, such as some city dwellers, but if you want a nice car with regular features that will last in the long run, it just won’t be for you. Perhaps if it had more systems inside it could appeal to a larger group, but for now it’s definitely not a good choice for extended use. I will applaud Renault however, for trying something new and interesting, as well as paying homage to the old Espace F1.
All images: Renault, Mad4Wheels