2013 Renault Twizy
Leave it to the French to produce a glorified golf cart to challenge even the Smart Car in size. The latest trend of these over sized go-carts reminds me of cell phones in the 1990’s where the challenge was to make them as small as they possibly could. And then when they realized the foolish impracticality of trying to type a text on keys the size of pin heads phone’s gradually got back to a more reasonable size. They slimmed down and were lighter and more powerful. Eventually cell phones became what they are today. They are multifaceted and practical. They are hand held computers. Having said all that there are those out there who find the idea of owning a toy car like the Renault Twizy or a Smart Car perfectly suitable to their lifestyle. They’re teensy weensy tiny little lifestyle.
What it has to offer is the ultimate option in economic vehicles. Short of this you’re driving an electric wheelchair. One of those three wheel scooters. How it works is you buy the Twizy, I know…only the French, and then you lease the batteries. Not a bad plan. They claim its purpose is for the busy city dweller in need of a tiny practical vehicle to get them around and run those small errands. Renault also touts the Twizy as a means for young drivers to gain safe drive experience but I have to question that one. I’ll say this much, if you get broadsided in an intersection by a delivery truck running a light in this thing there is no way you’re surviving that. The Renault Twizy is for the person with up to date life insurance. Because in a car this size it doesn’t matter how ‘deformable’ the structure is or how many airbags you try to pack into it or even if the outboard position of the wheels are meant to provide protection. Hit hard enough the Twizy is a ping-pong ball casket built for two.
There are two versions available. One actually requires a driver’s license, if you can believe that, because it’s running at a staggering 20hp. The version for which you require no license to drive operates at a neck breaking 5hp. As far as the ride goes the 2013 Renault Twizy has an extremely low centre of gravity providing a surprisingly stable ride. And its all around disc brakes provide adequate stopping power.
The Renault Twizy weighs in at 450kg and that’s including 100kg batteries. And you have to include the batteries or else we’re simply talking about an over sized stroller. Unless you cut holes in the floor and do it Flintstone style. On the plus side the Twizy has a fairly impressive range of 100km. Its battery is very simple and convenient to charge. It has an extendable spiral cable stored in a small compartment at the front of the vehicle. The Twizy is equipped with an integrated charger making the cable compatible with roadside battery charging facilities. An additional adapter permits this cable to be plugged into any 220V 10A household electrical supply. The battery fully charges in three-and-a-half hours. Remember, this little gem is only available in Europe right now so don’t hold your breath.