Renault lands tiny EV in NZ

Renault lands tiny EV in NZ

Renault New Zealand has landed the cute little Twizy two-seat electric vehicle – in spite of not yet being able to put it on the road.

Launched in France in 2012, the diminutive Twizy carries its passengers in tandem, and with a full charge will go up to 69km, with a top speed limited to 80km/h.

Classed as a ‘quadracycle’, the Twizy has car-like controls and offers occupants more protection than a motorcycle, including an airbag and seatbelt.

DSC04888Renault brand manager Salvatore Marti says it has imported the Twizy as part of its promotion of EVs, alongside the Zoe and Kangoo ZE plug-ins it has already on sale.

“To help promote 100% pure electric vehicles, we are looking ahead to the long term future of road travel, something different – it is very cool. 100% pure electric, 100% fun.”

The company is working on the process of getting the government to change rules around quadracycles, and make them a legal option for the road.

In parallel, the Imported Motor Vehicle Industry Association has also put a proposal to the NZ Transport Agency to have the vehicles classified.

The two that have landed will be used for promotion, while they could be sold initially for use on private land or in tourism activities.

Pricing has yet to be announced, but we understand it could be steep compared to a ‘normal’ vehicle – at around $30,000.

So what is it like to drive?

Supposedly car like, controls are the same as pretty much any other electric vehicle, with forward, reverse and neutral controlled via buttons on the dashboard.
Drive is largely silent, and the unassisted steering direct but surprisingly slow for what you would expect to be like a gokart. My reasoning is the need to avoid sudden changes direction for stability.

It does not feel quick, but quick-enough for tooling around a city centre – although in fairness we were restricted to the commercial compound where Renault is based in Mt Wellington for the test.

The main downside? No windows – weather shields are available – which we found fine heading into the rain and wind, but a bit chilly and damp when turning side on.

Almost worth it for the scissor doors!

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