Renault makes an 'F1' Twizy

Renault makes an 'F1' Twizy

Apr 30, 2013

Renault makes an 'F1' Twizy

We're honestly not sure whether to laugh, cry or cheer at this. Yes, it's a Twizy, Renault's electric urban run-around that's a mixture of car, moped and food mixer, all in one. Well, being as Renault is the very company that has recently been complaining that it hasn't been getting enough publicity out of its Formula One endeavours, the French decided to get up and do something about that.

Whereas most car makers would simply take an existing model, add some jazzy paint and logos and call it a special edition, Renault has decided on something much, much madder. Because this Twizy doesn't just have F1-style wheels, steering wheel and front and rear wings (although it does, oddly enough, have all of those things) it also has the engine from an F1 car...

Well, sort of. You see all F1 cars these days come with KERS - or Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems. It's a hybrid setup, so that braking energy charges up a set of batteries, which can be used to power an electric motor to boost power for a limited time each lap to aid overtaking, or for that matter, avoiding being overtaken. And it's that electric motor that the Twizy uses, the very same one you'd find strapped to the back of Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull or Kimi Raikkonen's Lotus.

And this is more than just a bolt-on job. The standard Twizy has just 17hp, and is designed to trundle around town at 50km/h. The F1 KERS motor, at the press of a button, boosts this to a heady 97hp and raises the Twizy's top speed to an eye-watering 115km/h! With no doors. This is going to be hilarious...

It's no joke though. Renault engineers had to develop a special drive system so that the vastly more powerful KERS unit could work in tandem with the Twizy's standard electric motor, while the lithium-ion batteries had to be beefed up too. There's even on on-board data-logging system that flashes up important information onto the little screen built into the steering wheel, again, just like you get in an F1 car. Renault even reckons that the Twizy F1 will dash to 100km/h in roughly the same time as the 265hp Mégane RS...

"We always said we wanted to create F1-derived technology that was road relevant! Hopefully, this Twizy will make a few people smile while also making a serious point. The project was led by Renault Sport F1 and Renault Sport Technologies, working in close conjunction with Renault's electric vehicle development department. KERS is a very complex system and integrating it into another electric vehicle was a very serious endeavour, but they managed to make it work, delivering a huge boost of power safely and efficiently. I'm not sure we'll be seeing many of these on our roads, but it does show that the same principles we see on the race track can be filtered down to the road legal range - this is  just the evil elder brother!" said Jean-Michel Jalinier, President and Managing Director, Renault Sport F1.

Sadly, and almost needlessly to say, this is just a one-off, so you're not going to see fleets of these burning off BMW M3s at the traffic lights. More's the pity; the world needs a little more motoring madness like this. Well done Renault.

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