Introduced in 2012, the Renault Twizy is one of the oldest EVs still on sale today. The all-electric microcar, classified as a quadricycle in Europe, has survived to this day largely unchanged. Despite that, it remains one of the most fun to drive EVs on the market, partly because it doesn’t have that many direct competitors (at least not yet).
So what is it so special about the Twizy, then? Quite a lot, actually, as UK electric vehicle specialist RSymons RSEV’s video points out. For starters, it feels very similar to driving an open-top car, as the doors lack windows so you can hear wind noise and the pleasant whine of the electric motor.
Although the cabin is really small and only accommodates two seats placed in tandem, it feels quite airy given the lack of windows and the two glass panels in the roof. Another thing the Twizy has got working for it is the central driving position, something that allows the driver to place it with precision on the road, especially when cornering. Now, don’t think you can reach motorway speeds in it.
The example featured in the video has a tiny 6.1-kWh battery under the front seat feeding a puny 13 kW (17 bhp) electric motor placed under the rear seat. The motor delivers 57 Nm (42 lb-ft) of instant torque to the rear wheels, making the Twizy a rear-wheel-drive, rear-engine car with a central driving position.
You won’t be able to hit speeds higher than 50 mph (80 kph) without modding it, but rest assured, that kind of speed feels much higher in a 474-kg (1,045-lb) vehicle with no windows. Honestly, you don’t want to go any faster in the Twizy as it’s a quadricycle conforms to much more lax safety standards than an automobile.
At the end of the day, the truth is few city runabouts can beat the Twizy at the “smiles per gallon” game. It has its letdowns, obviously, including a too firm ride, limited range (up to 31 miles/50 km on the combined WLTP cycle), and a complete lack of practicality and features. Lack of windows aside, it doesn't even have a heater, so it takes courage (and thick clothes) to drive it in winter.