Since first being presented at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, Renault's Twizy has gone from concept to production model, and like many small young things, has also dreamed of becoming a firefighter and a F1 racer.
For its latest party trick, the French auto giant really means business. The battery electric roofed quad bike has sacrificed its passenger seat and had its rear end cut-out modified to make room for a small amount of storage space. The result of this collaborative effort from Renault's Tech and Sports divisions is the new Twizy Cargo.
The Twizy has been on sale to the public in Europe for a while now and, while not exactly commonplace, I can report having seen a number of them zipping through traffic or parked in impossibly-tight spaces in my neck of the woods. I've also spent a short while in the driving seat, and can confirm that this teeny battery-electric vehicle (BEV) is a whole lot of fun.
Its relatively low purchase price, penny-pinching running costs and small form factor make it an excellent first car for urban commutes, or a fairly cheap entrée to the world of electric vehicles. Yet Renault reports that 60 percent of Twizy buyers have been from the business world, and has therefore developed a new version especially for them.
Aimed at delivery concerns like couriers or postal services, the Twizy Cargo's rear passenger area has been replaced by a 550 x 500 x 950 mm (22 x 20 x 37 in) watertight trunk with 180 liter (6.4 cu ft) capacity, capable of handling loads of up to 75 kg (165 lb). That's not going to be nearly enough to transport your baby grand piano, but it should be spacious enough for inner city deliveries of small packets and boxes. The trunk also benefits from a lockable door that opens to 90 degrees.
The light commercial vehicle's door locking system works in tandem with the ignition key to help ensure that anyone who slides in through the windowless opening Dukes of Hazard-style, isn't going to whizz off in your Twizy while you're dropping off your parcel. Safety features include a 4-point seatbelt, airbag and protective cabin.
Renault is releasing two versions of the modified BEV. The 45 Life (MA L6e) model's 5 hp electric motor gives it a limited top speed of 45 km/h (28 mph), and a quoted real world range of about 80 km (50 miles). It's been given a starting price of €8,080 (about US$10,433), though it is subject to Renault's battery rental scheme, which will add at least €50 (US$65) to monthly bills.
The more powerful Life (MB L7e) flavor can get up to 80 km/h (50 mph) from its 17 hp motor, and promises a similar real world range. This model could be yours for €8,780 ($11,337).