The Renault Twizy: a business mobility jewel?

Last week we presented some of the business mobility challenges London faces during the Olympic Games. We also gave some examples of the city’s efforts to avoid continuous traffic jams and public transport breakdown during the mega event. But actually, don't similar problems happen in all the world’s largest urban areas all the time? Can’t there be a way to circumvent business mobility problems once and for all? Let’s see: we would need some kind of vehicle that doesn't cause any traffic jams, doesn't pollute the air at all, and always finds a parking spot, right? In addition, it should be safe and provide a decent level of comfort. Well, what’s seems close to utopia, the automaker Renault might have actually created. It’s called the Twizy and on first glance it looks more like a steady beach buggy than a real road car. Nevertheless, its qualities quickly become clear: it is tiny, dynamic, and fully electric. But can it really fulfill all our demanding criteria to be awarded the title “best business mobility vehicle”? Let’s take the Twizy for a spin!

The whizzy Twizy

In many aspects, the Twizy does look like the perfect urban machine: it is an ultra-compact vehicle, with a length of 2.32 m and a width of only 1.2 m. Evidently, a Twizy would hardly ever be the cause of traffic jams and parking should really be of no hassle. The starting price of the Twizy is 6.990,00 €. With its 6.1 kWh lithium-ion battery it reaches between 50 and 80 km of range (depending on how you drive it) and a maximum speed of 80 km/h if you get the sportier version (8.490,00 €). These values should be satisfying for the comfortable daily commute to work. Furthermore, it has room for two people sitting in a tandem, which is enough it just means taking the kids to school before work probably falls flat.[1]

The useless Twizy

So far it looks like the Twizy is doing well, but then there are the same kinds of problems all electric cars are infected with today: they are hugely impractical. According to Renault, loading the battery takes 3,5 hours but reviews say 5,5 hours is more realistic.[2] What to do if the battery runs out somewhere in town? You can’t always go for a prolonged lunch whilst waiting for the car to be charged. Frankly, the fact that you can simply charge the battery at any electric sockets seems to be really practical. Actually, when you’re living in a city chances will be very low that you have a garage or any place where you can put the car and then connect it to any of your home sockets. Apart from the general issues of electric cars, the Twizy is a particular problem child: it doesn't have windows or real doors! So after a night of heavy rain, the interior might be completely drenched. Neither does it have heating, which you’d probably wish to have during the cold seasons. The Twizy went on sales this March in France and by now most European countries have it. But what is the Twizy then? To be honest, the Twizy is everything but a business mobility jewel. Yet, it is an interesting interpretation of how we see ourselves moving in the future: no petrol, no emission, and less traffic jams. The Twizy furthermore is an indication that we can expect business mobility to change in the nearer future. And that’s why one should applaud Renault for its little Twizy!

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