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Electric Cars - Renault Twizy Review

Sean O'Meara 19/02/2013 09:05:13

Electric Cars - Renault Twizy Review

There's a hubbub in the Watch My Wallet office over the Renault Twizy. It's an interesting hubbub too, because it seems to be originating equally from three very disparate demographic camps - early Twenties urbanites, BMW drivers and moped enthusiasts all "get" the Twizy.

First unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2009, the Twizy is set for launch this month (April 2012) and the reaction is guaranteed to be intense.

This is a very distinctive vehicle, defiantly and impressively straddling the historical gulf between small city cars and two-wheelers. It's cheap to run, easy to park and as green as a four-wheel vehicle with a top speed of 50 MPH can be.

All models are single speed, meaning that driving one is vaguely comparable to driving a dodgem car. It's as simple as "go" and "stop," but with a handbrake. The Twizy is quiet when accelerating, but does develop a noticeable whine when it reaches a good speed. It's nippy enough to keep up with city traffic, but isn't suitable for long commutes or motorway driving. Renault really have aimed the Twizy squarely into the urban errand runner niche. It's also ideal for city dwellers or suburbanites with a regular, brief commute through town.

The main and obvious benefit of the Twizy is cost. The most you'll pay is £7,400 and that's for a top of the range Technic model. Prices start at £6,690 on the road. You won't pay for tax, congestion charge or - obviously - for petrol. You do need to lease the battery from Renault and the cost depends on your anticipated mileage and how long you plan on owning the Twizy. We worked out that typical battery lease costs £49 per month, assuming mileage of 6,000 per year over three years.

The Twizy is an exciting, fun and very cleverly designed vehicle. It's engineered perfectly for its intended environment and will provide a genuinely viable alternative to expensive private commutes.

Fair play to Renault for being bold too, the Twizy is unashamedly aimed at techie urbanites who've never been burdened with the badge politics of car ownership. Renault  have resisted the urge to tweak and refine the current idea of an electric car and have instead, put out a definitive vehicle of their own. They've actually created a new type of vehicle here and save for its few shortcomings (space and storage) it is the perfect vehicle for anyone who makes regular, short urban journeys.

Key Facts

The seats are in line, meaning driver and passenger sit as if in a theme park log flume.

The Twizy is has 20 BHP.

It's official top speed is 47 MPH.

And it has a 62 mile range.

Charge time is 3.5 hours, empty to full, and can be done via any standard outlet.

A full charge will cost you around £1 in electricity costs .

It's 4ft wide and has a 22ft turning circle.

Doors don't come as standard and are an optional upgrade.

Sean O'Meara is editor of Watchmywallet.co.uk

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