In this blog: First in deep review of eCars.bg's electric Twizy.
Picked up the little bug from Renault Bulgaria at the end of january, but decided to delay the blogs till spring. Here it came so it's time to share my thoughts about the car. And there's a lot to say already...
I'd also love to see a lot of Twizys in Bulgaria, so more reviews come in. Really hope sales will start in April so my now lonely Twizy finds some fresh company. I'm sure there will a be a lot to share.
To me it was easy to get used to the car. We've been driven Twizy before, when we had it for a week long test, and later when we ran couple of test drives for Renault Bulgaria's team. I just hopped in and drove away with pleasure, as I knew the car already. What I didn't know, however, was how it will surprise me – I paid 9.04 BGN (€4.5) for a whole month of driving :).
Speaking of driving, let's start with the reviews. I'll split them into sections that I assume you'll most likely be interested in.
The feeling. At first it can be weird. Twizy has a steering wheel and pedals, but only one seat. OK, the other one is behind the driver. About the driving, you most likely need to get used to the external dimensions and particularly one specific detail – tires stretch out of the body.
The accelleration. I quickly noticed the accellerator pedal needs a little harder press, especially when passing other cars. It's not a big deal, and you'll feel the traction better once you pass 30 km/h or so – at that point just press a bit more and you'll feel it pull. This is logical as it already gained some momentum. Otherwise, for it's modest power, the accelleration is pretty decent providing the electric motor is capable of just 8 kW continuous and 13 kW peak power!
Lastly, the top speed is (should be) 80 km/h, but I've done 95 km/h. My top speed is usually around 75 km/h, but now you now what it's capable of.
How's the ride? Well, it's hard. Very hard! I kind of like it, but I know far not everyone will, with the road quality in Bulgaria. But it's the hard suspension that makes it so obsessively stable. In a standard car I'll never even think of entering corners as with Twizy. It's so sticky.
What about the brakes? Twizy's disc brakes are very small and hitting them just before the traffic light is not a good idea. It stops, no worries, but during those test drives we did for Renault lots of people tried to hit the brakes hard and complained car does not stop well. It's just different. Twizy is much smaller and you better use the foot brake along with the regen system (release the right pedal and press the brake if needed).
The regen. It's much more efficient to slow down by just releasing the accellerator pedal – the car regens energy and stops (slowly). This needs practicing though. I'm still learning when to release the pedal depending on the current speed. Sometimes I let if off a bit earlier, but, generally, If your speed is over 35 km/h, it will need more time to stop – at around 6% Twizy's regen is far from strong. It's not like Kangoo Z.E., for example, which stops very quickly even when you're driving downhill at 80 km/h.
How does it turn? It's such a fun. Turn radius is very small and you can park couple of Twizys in a conventional car spot. Steering wheel may feel a bit hard when the car is stationary.
That's easy. Twizy's charging cable is fitted with standard household plug so you just plug it in the mains and it starts charging. There's a warning in the user's manual (called handbook) not to use an extension cord. I have some 7-8 meters long cable suitable for three phase charging and it's all fine – no heat, no worries whatsoever. But using a cable reel may not be a good idea – it can get hot because of the induction.
As far as charging time goes, a near flat battery needs three and a half hours to recharge to 100%. I usually end up with something like 20% and then charge to 80% once the nightly rate kicks in. That's usually around 3 kWh worth around €0.15 good for 30 km range on the following day :). To make some calculations I bought an energy meter – here how some of my charging session looked like:
|SOC when plugged||Charging time||SOC when finished||Energy drawn|
|7%||1 h. 30 min.||57%||3.2 kWh|
|10%||3 h.||97%||5.9 kWh|
|41%||1 h. 32 min.||86%||3.2 kWh|
|25%||1 h. 49 min.||77%||3.6 kWh|
|63%||47 min.||93%||1.6 kWh|
Already mentioned it – Twizy's ride is hard. Seat cushion has some rubber cover and I feel it good enough. Seat back is fixed however, but the angle seems to be carefully chosen and is a good fit to me. The only issue is that as it's getting warmer my pants can get wet sometimes (imagine what happens in the summer) with this rubber cushion. It's not fun to get out of the car and see your butt wet, right? :))) I can put some seat cover on (there's on that seems like it's made for Twizy's seat) or have a local shop make a custom velours one or so. Still, with the rubber under it I'm not sure it will work as expected.
The back space is not so comfy, but almost any adult will fit in there. It's kind of like in the back of a motorcycle seat, but you have your own. What you need to know is that rear passenger feels the ride much harder, because the rear seat is right over the driving axle and suspension. That's why I drive carefully and avoid even small pot holes as much as I can. If there's a bump on the road you better get over it super slowly or Twizy will just jump – that's how hard the suspension is. With better pavement it's not such an issue, just keep in mind it rides hard.
Another thing that is a bit unpleasant, is the rear cars' lights reflections in both your rearview mirrors – Twizy is so much narrower than all other cars on the road.
"Does it have windows?" is a frequent question I am asked about. Yes, it has – original Renault (would not buy them) or aftermarket at €450-500 for a pair of quality Lexan pieces. But I like the car as it is, without windows. The plastic right under the outside mirrors does an amazing job in keeping the wind (and light rain) aside, but there's big gaps under the doors. I put some rubber seals along the doors' bottom edge so I know kind of have weatherstipping (see the right picture). It also blows around your feet, so I had to seal the steering shaft hole as well. There's an aftermarket accessory for that as well.
I know guys over at Renault collect every possible feedback to improve Twizy and I'd say something about the ignition key, as unimportant as it may sound. The housing is so deep that you need to lean to the right to see where to put the key in. That's uncomfortable time and time again.
An lastly about the "comfort" :), Twizy has almost nothing to offer you in terms of "extras". I do have a Bluetooth system however so I can plug my iPhone or flash drive in the left glovebox connectors and have some music cheer me up while driving.
The other thing that you have is to use the back seat as a cargo compartnemt when you turn it upside down. Remove it, put something there, cover it and lock. Smart and functional, just don't think it's too secure.
Bottom line – when I drive Twizy I don't think about all these things above and the extras at all. I stick the flash drive in, turn key, push the D key and dive into the fun.
Twizy makes me happy. That little open car with glass roof feels so free and independent. It runs fine in the traffic, super cheap, parks everywhere and attracts so much attention that I haven't expected it will. "What a killer car" flies around me all the time, though the last thing I'd call Twizy, is killer. But it's people's way to say "cool" so that must be the reason for the "killer".
People really percieve Twizy so positively, constantly ask different questions about it, and taxi drivers just can't believe I usually spend up to €0.30 daily.
There's also this thing that not everyone likes the price. From my experience so far, however, I know that once you hop into an EV you just forget about it, as weird as it may sound to you right now. Energy consumptions is so low, driving is fun and with the addictive accelleration of EVs you're totally obsessed and quickly realize it worths every cent. But they better get cheaper, of course!
Twizy has it's pros and cons. There's things to fix and improve, there's some issues as well, as I see people report in forums like TwizyOwners. I don't have any issues so far and I'm trying to keep my battery in the 20-80% range, to increase it's life.
So my advice to you if you're in the market for Twizy – you better do a test drive, before you buy it. It's a different kind of ride, that needs some adjustments and changes. I have no doubt a lot more people will make that step and buy the little fun french EV, and I keep my fingers crossed they do it as soon as they can.
This is how I spend my first three Twizy months. I often drive it to the limits so other drivers see how nippy it actually is – just don't want to give them reasons to say "What a slow shit" or so. The thing is, I'm taking what I can from Twizy and it takes almost nothing from me (save for my monthly payments) – I'm paying less then €5 for electricity per month. But Twizy reminded me how important is to respect every cent I earn. Sure it will, carrying my butt around for much less than half a Euro all day long!
Got questions about Twizy? Fire away in the comments below – I'll be glad to get it sorted out for you :).