Since its launch in 2012, Twizy, the electric quadricycle from Renault, is a unique machine that has found its place on the urban mobility landscape, as well as in the more recent world of shared mobility. Let’s take a look back at the history and main characteristics of this curious craf.
Twizy’s story began at Renault back in 2007 with a team of enthusiasts convinced that there was a place on the market for an accessible urban electric vehicle, somewhere between a moped and a car. It would take two years for the project to get the go-ahead, then another year to design a first prototype. In 2011, it was time for Twizy to be accredited and then, finally, Twizy was released in 2012. It therefore took five years for the Renault Twizy to come on the scene. Yet still today, the quadricycle remains unparalleled on the vehicle market, electric or not, and in shared mobility. The reason behind its name? The contraction of “twin” (for its two seats) and “easy” (for its ease of use and handling.)
Renault Twizy’s range can reach up to 80 kilometers of real use. Twizy’s energy consumption, and therefore the range of this electric vehicle, not only depends on the conditions (gradient of the road, outside temperature etc.) but also significantly on the style of driving. Eco-driving can save up to 60% of electric range compared to a more “brusque” style. Onboard, the econometer indicates energy consumption in real-time, enabling the driver to optimize their Twizy’s range.
Recharging a Renault Twizy couldn’t be simpler: it just plugs in to a regular household socket. For its 7 kWh battery, 3.5 hours are enough to charge the battery to its maximum 80 kilometers of electric range!
Part car, part motorcycle, Twizy stands out with its design and its size, somewhere between a large moped and a small electric city car. Its dimensions – 2.33 meters long by a good meter wide – allow it — depending on the country — to park perpendicular to the sidewalk as long as it does not obstruct traffic and the front of the vehicle faces the street. You might still have to pay full price for parking, but it’s a lot easier to find a space! For Twizy users who like driving electric as a group a single standard parking space is enough to park three Twizys. Another special feature that lets Twizy slip into parking spaces anywhere is its scissor doors that open vertically, meaning the driver needs less space to exit the vehicle. Practical! Twizy is also agile to drive around the city thanks to its chassis, developed by Renault Sport, which gives it great stability and very good roadholding, making it ideal for urban mobility.
Despite being compact enough to weave in and out of traffic and park easily, Renault Twizy is a real 2-seater vehicle whose interior can accommodate a child or adult passenger behind the driver’s seat. Several storage spaces are available, including door pockets on each side and a 55-liter trunk. There is a wide range of interior equipment designed to make journeys safe and comfortable: accessories and options such as the Bluetooth® hands-free kit, integrated music speakers and magnetic smartphone holder (so as to make use of Twizy’s onboard mobile applications.)
In its 5 horsepower version, accessible without a driving license in most European countries, the Twizy electric vehicle is limited to 45 km/h. Its older brother with 17 horsepower has a top speed of 80 km/h.
As a quadricycle, Twizy is not authorized to drive on highways. This electric vehicle with its compact build is designed for the urban environment. Fast roads and highways are not its thing! Also, another reason why Twizy is incompatible with driving on the highway is its maximum speed limit of 80 km/h.
On this point, legislation varies between countries but, in short, it may be obligatory to have a driving license to drive a Twizy… but not necessarily! It all depends on the version in question: in France, for example, Twizy 45 (limited to 45 km/h) is considered a light motor-powered quadricycle (category L6a) and therefore accessible to drivers over the age of 14, and those without a license provided they have a road safety certificate. However, the more powerful Twizy 80 (which can reach up to 80 km/h) belongs to the heavy quadricycle category (L7e) and therefore requires a regular B license or B1 license, accessible from 16 years old.
The principle is similar in Germany. The first version of Twizy is accessible from 16 years and over to holders of a moped license, while the second category of Twizy requires a category B driving license.
More sustainable and less restrictive than having a personal vehicle, shared mobility is a mode of transit increasingly favored by cities. And when this type of mobility is also electric, the resulting silence and absence of exhaust fumes are additional benefits. While ZOE is already in the lead when it comes to electric carsharing services in Europe, Twizy is also suited to the role, as evidenced by the TOTEM mobi service in Marseille, France, where it facilitates travel in the city center. Over 9,000 kilometers away, it’s in Seoul that we find the Twizy quadricycle used in a public carsharing service offered by LH to residents of certain apartment blocks.
In France, Twizy 45 is priced from 7,450 euros, and 8,240 euros for the Twizy 80 version. Of course, Twizy prices vary between countries. Many European countries have implemented measures at several levels to encourage drivers to buy an electric vehicle: from purchase bonuses, a reduction in (or even complete cancellation of) VAT and/or other taxes, and sometimes all of these incentives together! It’s important not to forget this when thinking about investing in an electric vehicle.
Copyrights: BROSSARD Yannick, MARTIN-GAMBIER Olivier, BRAC DE LA PERRIERE Amaury