Renault Twizy Technic reviewed by James Martin A top speed of …

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RENAULT Twizy – Electric Car Technic 13kW Auto

A top speed of 50mph, no radio, no heater. and oh, no windows. But is the Renault Twizy Technic the car of the future?

PUBLISHED: 21:00 GMT, 8 September 2012 | UPDATED: 21:00 GMT, 8 September 2012



May I apologise to the customers in my restaurant one day last month, who had to wait five minutes longer for their main course?

Team GB were on course for a gold and I didn t want to miss it.

If I d planned ahead I could ve got a TV in the kitchen for me and the boys to watch.

The Renault Twizy Technic’s scissor doors open like a McLaren’s, swinging up and forward for easy access

A chef mate of mine who runs the busiest Indian in the land doesn t just have a kitchen TV but one in every section, so as not to miss a single over when the cricket s on.

But it s no surprise I wasn t prepared for the Olympics. I d never been interested in athletics before.

Oh, I got a bronze swimming badge in 1984 for diving for a rubber brick, but that hardly prepared me for being totally hooked all the way from July 27 to August 12.

I think a lot of us were surprised. Not just by how good Team GB were, but by how happy and smiley we were for two weeks.

For a skint and divided country, it was a huge relief. Once it ended, would life go back to grumpy, moaning, envious normal?

Not for me it didn t. Because I was driving the Renault Twizy, and I ve never driven a car that gets more attention and more smiles than this little thing.

Pick-up is brisk, the steering is non-powered but incredibly light, and the turning circle is like a black cab’s, making it an ideal car for cities

I first saw it at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in June and it had grown men clamouring around it like schoolkids round a bouncy castle.

I remember thinking then that Renault had a hit on its hands. It had the same effect when it rolled into my drive.

Now, you may think I like fast cars and you d be right. Clearly this thing wasn t going to set any 100m sprint records.

But speed is far less important than putting a smile on your face. Here it starts just by getting in.

The Twizy s scissor doors open like a McLaren s, swinging up and forward for easy access.

Well, easy access for the driver. For the passenger it s harder work: they have to push the driver s seat forward, climb in and spread their legs either side, like going pillion on a Harley. (In fact, the Twizy is officially a quadricycle rather than a car.)

RENAULT Twizy – Electric Car Technic 13kW Auto

So it may not be the right ride for a first date. Or to take your granny down the shops.

But think of it as a sort of promenading machine, like the sit-upon motorcars of the 1900s, and you re on to a winner.

In fact it is quite basic inside.

There s a Drive/Neutral/Reverse selector, a pull handbrake, a key ignition, a speedo, a charge meter, a glovebox; that s about it.

You rent the battery for about Ј50 a month, so you don’t have to worry about it degrading over time, which happens to electric cars as it does to mobile phones

You move off in silence as there s no radio and no heaters. No point, as there are no windows. Or doors (they re extra; Ј545).

Pick-up is brisk, the steering is non-powered but incredibly light, and the turning circle is like a black cab s, making it an ideal car for cities.

But I m miles from civilisation and I ve driven enough plug-in cars to keep a close eye on the range meter as I set off for my first test run. It said I had 62 miles, enough to get me to London.

But it dropped rapidly, as expected. So I settled for Winchester to be on the safe side. Nope, I thought, they still haven t made an electric car for country folk.

Having said that, it coped brilliantly with the bumps and bends on the country roads and was comfortable to drive, with a low centre of gravity and good suspension.

My other half said it was even better in the back: she was gliding through the countryside in silence, listening to the birds in the trees.

Every time we pulled alongside a bunch of lads we got, What the heck is that? and a thumbs up. Which is preferable to what happens when you pull up in a hundred-grand convertible.

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