Renault Twizy: Third report

12 Dec, 2012 10:15am Richard Ingram

The Renault Twizy is the coolest car on our fleet – in more ways than one, as our man found out...

Our Twizy has felt a little neglected over the past few weeks. As the nights draw in and the days get colder, the number of people volunteering to take the electric Renault home has dwindled.

This is hardly surprising. With no heater and a cabin that’s open to the elements, the quirky Twizy is rarely at the top of anyone’s winter wheels wishlist. Yet it’s meant to be used as an all-weather commuter, which is why I decided to brave the freezing temperatures and lashing winds to see if the car makes as much sense when the sun isn’t shining. I made sure I was prepared, though.

Before climbing into the Twizy I pulled on a woolly hat, gloves and ski jacket. I also filled a hot water bottle and pulled my socks up to my knees! Unplugging the Twizy from the mains revealed a healthy 40-mile range, which was plenty for my 12-mile round trip commute, even taking into account the fact I’d be using the headlights to navigate through London’s evening traffic.

Once up and running, you do feel reasonably protected from the elements – unlike riding a scooter or motorbike, the windscreen and roof shield you from all but the strongest gusts and heaviest rain. However, sitting still in traffic will have you burying your hands in your pockets and furiously wiggling your toes in an effort to generate heat.

All this comes as a bit of a sticking point for the Twizy. The urban environment is where it should excel. But anything more than 10 minutes in the UK’s chilly winter climate leaves you (and your passenger) dreaming of more conventional forms of transport.

To add insult to injury, the in-built Parrot Bluetooth system was on the blink. This left me unable to make calls or even stream music – a few animated conversations and some tunes would no doubt have helped keep my mind off the cold.

However, it was pleasing to note the car’s attention-grabbing ability remained and, if anything, was amplified by the cold weather. Plenty of people still point and stare, while the flashes from camera phones are even more evident in the dark. The highlight, though, was chatting to a couple in a Porsche 911 on London’s Park Lane, as they admired the Twizy’s unusual profile and silent progress.

Momentarily, I forgot I was dressed as an Eskimo, and thanks to the impression the Twizy had on the general public, I actually found myself enjoying the journey home.

As we reported in our last long-term report, we’re expecting the delivery of some removable windows that attach to the optional scissor doors, but as of yet they remain unavailable. Renault assures us they’re on the way. However, they won’t address the issue of the lack of cabin heating, so I think I’ll need to keep my hot water bottle topped up for the time being...

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Oh for heavens sake, worrying about the cold, what a moaner.

Did anyone ever hear of heated jackets ? or heated boots that motorcyclists use ? the jackets now use batteries like in power tools.

For god sake stop moaning and looking for negatives
The Twizy offers an excellent way to get around for very little money it's a really great alternative to the car.

I want one!

Would have one tomorrow if it did slightly more than the claimed 60 mile range, and monthly battery charge wasn't so steep!

I like electric cars, but is this really a good way to get around...?

But at 7.5k I could buy a base spec VW up! or equivalent, which has room for 4 people, has a heater and probably much safer in an accident.

Where as the Twizy can only take 2 people, has no heater etc... and offers none of the advantages of motorbikes (quick, can fit through traffic etc...) but all the disadvantages of a normal car.

Also it surly its designed for an urban environment where most people don't have off street parking so the ability to charge it up is minimized and the commercial charging infrastructural can at best be described as patchy in its current form.

It seems to have been conceived to take advantage of the new EU regulations that lets 16 year old drive such a product. (hence why it has no side windows, as that is part of the legislation (or so i understand!)) Either that or as a toy for early adopters...

Lol... Spain perhaps... but not here, nope...

It's a great way to get around. I converted

my bicycle to electric and it's capable of 41 mph, I have great clothing for the cold and wet, it's not an issue. If people want the comfort of cars and are willing to pay such very high prices, then that's up to them.

You wouldn't go out in the cold without proper clothing so why would you drive a twizy without proper clothing ? seriously, with proper clothing it's a non issue. Heated jackets are an alternative for those that are simply not able to take any form of cold.

Sure it isn't a family car nor intended to be. But it would suit a whole lot of people if they only gave it a chance.

Key specs

  • On fleet since: August 2012
  • Price new: £7,400
  • Engine: Electric motor, 17bhp
  • CO2/Tax: 0g/km/£0
  • Options: Scissor doors (£545), coloured alloys (£375), Parrot Bluetooth (£290), metallic paint (£195), storage nets (£75)
  • Trade-in now: N/A
  • Insurance group/quote: 10/£365
  • Mileage: 605 miles
  • Costs: None so far
  • Any problems?: Parrot Bluetooth system not working