When the Renault Twizy Z.E. goes on sale in Europe at the end of 2011, it will be one of the cheapest electric vehicles available. Starting at €6,990 (a more-than-reasonable $9,961 U.S. at today's exchange rate), the five-horsepower Twizy 45 seems a raging bargain. But, the Twizy 45 is a special, low-power version that doesn't even require a license in some countries. If you step up to the 17-horsepower Renault Twizy Urban or Technic models, which start at €7,690 ($10,958) and €8,490 ($12,098), respectively, that attractive lowball price fades, especially when you factor in that leasing the battery pack for the Urban or Technic versions will cost you €49 ($70 U.S.) a month.
Recently, Autocar got some seat time in one of the more costly versions of the Twizy, and the UK-based magazine says the instant acceleration provided by the electric motor was truly impressive. Rated at 42 pound-feet of torque, that electric motor moves the 992-pound Twizy from zero to its top speed of 50 miles per hour in, well, Renault says it will hit 50 mph. Autocar says the Twizy's unusually low center of gravity means that it can swoop around corners with relative ease. Yes, there's a fair bit of understeer, but that's to be expected. What wasn't expected? Autocar's closing words:
Impressive. Most impressive.The Twizy isn't the only electric car that I've enjoyed driving, but it's the only one I could imagine owning. Just for the fun of it.