Re­nault’s in a Twizy

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE - By NEIL DOWL­ING

WOULD you be seen in this? It does not seem much more than an elec­tric scooter with a roof but Re­nault may have hit the nail on the head with its in­ner-city com­muter, the Twizy.

It goes on sale in Europe later this year.

The ve­hi­cle baf­fled in­trepid show­go­ers at its 2009 Frank­furt Mo­tor Show de­but.

They thought it was just a styling ex­er­cise from Re­nault – or maybe artis­tic li­cence.

Re­nault, which is in­sist­ing the name will not change, is to put two mod­els on the mar­ket.

The first is the Twizy 45, which has a weeny 4kW elec­tric mo­tor and, be­cause it equates to the per­for­mance of a pave­ment Go­pher, can be driven with­out a li­cence in some coun­tries, at around $9400.

You then will need a bat­tery which Re­nault will lease for about $60 a month.

The sec­ond Twizy more meat.

The Re­nault Twizy — do not con­fuse this with the Twizy 45 — has a whop­ping 15kW elec­tric mo­tor and starts at around $10,300 with a bat­tery lease of $66 a month.

The range

of­fers

be­tween the Twizy’s plug-in charges is 100km and it takes 3½ hours to charge.

Clearly made for dense in­nercity mo­tor­ing (and park­ing), the Twizy seats two in a tan­dem ar­range­ment, is a mere 2.32m long and 1.19m wide.

Re­nault says it is safe— com­pared with what? — be­cause it has a de­formable body; the sta­bil­ity of four wheels, at each cor­ner of the body; lat­eral beams ei­ther side of the chas­sis; a driver’s airbag; a four­point har­ness at the front and a three-point safety belt at the rear.

Be­cause Twizy’s oc­cu­pants are pro­tected and held in place, they are un­der no re­quire­ment to wear any sort of pro­tec­tive gear. This is the same ar­gu­ment used by BMW’s now de­funct C1 scooter.

Re­nault claims the Twizy’s run­ning costs are cheap as chips, work­ing out at 15 per cent lower than those of a three­wheeled scooter.

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