In late April Renault will be launching its electric cabin scooter called the "Twizy" in the German market. Blurring traditional lines, it's technically a quad but looks more like a car – and makes maneuvering through downtown traffic a breeze.
The Renault Twizy is a new design that doesn't really fit into any category of vehicle on the market. The Twizy looks basically like a normal car, with a steering wheel, four wheels and a roof. Doors, with or without windows, are optional, and can be retrofitted if the buyer prefers an enclosed car over a motorcycle look. Unlike the two-seater Smart cars, in the Twizy the passenger sits behind the driver rather than beside – an unprecedented two-seater arrangement.
The manufacturer claims the Twizy offers all the 'zip' of a scooter (from 0 to 45 km/h in six seconds), but with the comfort of a car. The name of this extremely quiet, emission-free electric car is derived from the words "twin" (two seats) and "easy", as it is built for convenient whizzing around downtown at speeds up to 80 km/h.
Parking is definitely easy, the vehicle being only 2.3 m long (slightly shorter than a Smart) and 1.2 m wide. Depending on driving style the Twizy can go for up to 120 kilometers, which is more mobility than most consumers require (worldwide, 80% of all daily car travel involves distances of less than 100 kilometers total). Back home in the garage, the Twizy's battery recharges in three and half hours.
The Renault Twizy is geared to appeal to a wide range of drivers, available in a slimmed-down version for example called the Twizy Urban 45, which is a starter car with less power and speed drivable by 16 year-olds with a German S-class license. Priced at around € 7,000, the simplest version of the Twizy is like a scooter but safer to drive, and suitable as well for older people for daily shopping trips.
Renault markets the standard version as a versatile, compact car for trendsetting urban drivers below age 40 who are into environmental technology.