Renault may launch a low-speed version of its battery-electric Twizy in the UK next year in an effort to capitalize on a law allowing for unlicensed drivers for some smaller vehicles, according to UK's Autocar.
The EV, called the Twizy 45, would be able to be legally driven by unlicensed drivers who are at least 16 years old if the EV is limited to a top speed of 28 miles per hour (that's 45 kph and gives the car its name) and weighs no more than 350 kilograms (770 pounds), or about half the weight of a Smart ForTwo, Autocar reported, citing Andy Heiron, who runs Renault UK's electric-vehicle operations. The EV may cost about £6,200 ($9,900), though a teenager may have to pay another two-thirds of that total during the first year in the form of insurance premiums.
Renault and sister company Nissan have invested a reported $5 billion developing lines of electric vehicles for both companies, including the Nissan Leaf. Nissan's only sold about 600 Leafs in the UK since the model's launch there last spring, Heiron told Autocar, adding that Nissan is considering allowing Leaf buyers to lease the car's battery instead of buying it in order to cut the cost of the car.
The Twizy got some additional attention earlier this week by being included in the new "Plug Into The Positive Energy" exhibit at the L'Atelier Renault stage on Paris's Champs Elysées, where the EV is moved around vertically as part of a so-called "dance routine." Renault this month started selling three variations of the Twizy, with the lowest-price Urban starting at £6,690 ($10,702 U.S. at today's exchange rates) and the top-of-the-line Technic priced at £7,400 ($11,838).