Thursday, April 19, 2012

Lithium Drive: Twizy | Fully Charged - Electric Drive With A Lot Of Fun



Robert Llewellyn takes a look at an electric car called the Renault Twizy.



Lithium Drive: Renault Twizzy Invades Ibiza And Goes On Sale in UK for $10,000





The ultra-compact footprint of Renault Twizy (length: 2,338 millimeters / width: 1,237 millimeters / height: 1,454 millimeters) is ideally suited to city motoring. It will go on sale in Europe early 2012 with a price tag beginning at €6,990 inclusive of taxes, depending on the fiscal measures available in each country.

Like for other Z.E. vehicles, Renault Twizy customers will lease the battery. The monthly subscription starts at €45 inclusive of taxes for an annual distance travelled of 7,500km, a figure which covers the vast majority of ordinary motorists' requirements.

Renault Twizy's running costs – insurance, maintenance and energy (battery lease and electricity for recharging) – are just as modest, working out at 15 percent lower than those of a three-wheeled scooter.

A resolutely modern design 

Renault Twizy will clearly appeal to busy, carowning city dwellers looking for a second vehicle, as well as to younger drivers interested in a safe way to gain experience in traffic thanks to the availability of a version that will not require a driver's licence (depending on country).

Although its compact dimensions are likely to prompt comparisons with the world of scooters, Renault Twizy delivers all the fundamentals associated with any car, namely four wheels, a steering wheel and pedals, plus an enveloping body for two occupants sitting in tandem, one behind the other.

Renault Twizy combines real character with a resolutely modern design that boasts sweeping lines, open bodywork, original gull wing doors and a full windscreen which extends over the top of the car to form a large glazed area, not to mention the model's original lighting signature.

Nimble and practical 

Renault Twizy's enveloping body and side deflectors combine the enjoyment of open-air motoring with protection from the elements. Additional lower door panels are available to provide even more effective shielding against wind and rain.

The amount of in-car stowage space is ideally suited to the needs of owners travelling to and from work, or for light shopping. A 31-litre lockable cubby – ideal for a briefcase or limited shopping – is readily accessible underneath the rear seat. The capacity of this locker can easily be increased to 55 litres. There are also three litres of stowage space either side of the steering wheel.

2 versions available 

The version of Renault Twizy which requires a driver's licence is powered by a 15kW (20hp) motor, while the version that doesn't require a licence (depending on country) comes with a 4kW (5hp) motor. The 7kWh lithium-ion battery is located underneath the front seat.

Renault Twizy's carefully honed weight – 450kg, including batteries (100kg) – is directly beneficial to its range which stands at 100km (combined cycle). Its battery is also particularly easy to charge thanks to an extendable spiral cable stored beneath a flap at the front of the vehicle.

Thanks to an integrated charger, this cable is also compatible with roadside battery charging facilities. An adapter permits this cable to be plugged into any 220V 10A household electrical supply. The battery fully charges in three-and-a-half hours.

Optimal safety 

Renault Twizy's bodywork is far more visible in traffic to other road users. In the case of a head-on collision, both occupants are protected by a deformable structure, while the outboard position of the four wheels and the lateral beams located either side of the chassis provide protection should the vehicle be involved in a side-on impact. The safety retention systems include a driver's airbag, a four-point harness at the front and a three-point safety belt at the rear. Also, since Renault Twizy's occupants are protected and held in place, they are under no requirement to wear any sort of protective gear.

Thanks to its four-wheeled chassis and extremely low centre of gravity, Renault Twizy delivers a reassuringly stable ride, while disc brakes all-round ensure precise, efficient stopping power.

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