Stuff takes the Renault Twizy for a test drive
It's not very often that an outlandish concept car makes the transition from prototype to fully-fledged product. Take the Citroën Lacoste concept, for example. Things are a little different for the rather unconventional and sci-fi inspired Twizzy.
According to Renault, the Twizy is the ultimate urban mobility solution. As it's classified as a heavy quadricycle – or UDO (unidentified driving object) – and is one hundred per cent electric, it's certainly suited to life in the city.
Admittedly, an exposed two-seater with a top speed of around 55mph and a 60 mile range doesn't sound like the acme of automotive desire – but we couldn't resist when Renault invited us to Ibiza to take the Twizy for a test drive.
As you've probably noticed, Renault has chucked conventional car design out of the window. In fact, there are no windows on the Twizy – making it look like the product of an ill-advised union between a golf buggy and a Smart car.
For the most part, it's a solitary driving experience, although there is space for two – providing they're not six feet tall and don't mind a bit of breeze. The seats are arranged in tandem formation, with the passenger straddling the driver's seat. Great for kids (or dogs) – but probably not a comfortable long-haul ride for adults. Getting into the back seat isn't the easiest of propositions either – but once in, it's comfy enough for a short haul ride.
In place of a petrol engine sits a rear-mounted 17hp electric motor, powered by a lithium-ion battery that takes three and a half hours to charge from empty.
It's not just the Twizy's carbon footprint that's small – at around 450kg and 1.24 metres wide, it's around 30cm narrower than a Smart ForTwo. It can turn in an astonishing 3.4 metres and its compact dimensions make it easy to park.
The charging equipment sits at the front – and to save you the the hassle of worrying about battery longevity, you rent it rather than buy it, with prices starting from £45 a month. As the Twizy is exempt from the congestion charge and road tax, this is your only real expense.