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Renault gets all Twizy in Australia

In a Twizy: Renault’s electric Twizy is the subject of negotiations between the French company and Australian authorities over its potential for road registration.

Electric Twizy lands in Australia as Renault ramps up lobbying for quadricycle class


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7 Aug 2014

RENAULT Australia has taken another step in its campaign to have its Twizy electric city runabout approved for Australian roads by importing a single unit for demonstration purposes.

Publicly, the tiny two-seat quadricycle will star at off-road events such as the Hunter Valley Electric Vehicle Festival near Newcastle on August 16-17, but behind the scenes, Renault will use the Twizy to advance its case with government authorities to create a new homologation category sitting between motorcycles and cars.

Currently, the four-wheel Twizy is categorised as a passenger motor vehicle under Australian law, but it lacks the necessary safety equipment such as side-impact bars and electronic stability control to meet Australian Design Rule requirements.

In Europe, a quadricycle classification has been established to allow their registration for road use by licensed drivers.

Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar said Twizy had been an “incredible success” in Europe, where it has been on sale for about two years.

“We are hoping that by exposing some opinion formers, lawmakers and relevant road authorities to Twizy, we will gain a greater understanding of the concept and what it could deliver for Australia drivers,” he said.

“We don’t think that just because Twizy has a steering wheel instead of a handlebar it should be automatically disqualified from consideration as a legitimate form of personal transport in Australia.

“To drive Twizy is to love Twizy, we say, and we hope that Australians who have the opportunity to try Twizy will agree.”

Renault Australia corporate communications and sponsorship manager Emily Fadeyev said the process to have Australian federal approval for quadricycles such as the Twizy would be a “slow burn”, requiring agreement from various levels of government.

She said bringing the Twizy to Australia would aid that process.

“This process can’t be hypothetical – we need a car here for it to proceed,” she said.

Renault has brushed off negative European New Car Assessment Program (ENCAP) test results, saying the Twizy – with its four-point seatbelts, driver’s airbag, safety cell body structure and front and rear crumple zones – offered much greater protection than scooters in city traffic.

Ms Fadeyev said the Twizy also had performed best of the four quadricycles tested by ENCAP.

The safety watchdog tested the quadricycles in a 50km/h frontal crash – down from 64km/h for cars – and a side-impact shunt at 50km/h, which is the same speed at cars.

The battery-powered Twizy produces 13kw of power and 57Nm of torque from its single electric motor. It has a top speed of 81km/h and a range of up to 100km.

The Twizy will be on public show at the University of Newcastle’s Hunter Valley Electric Vehicle Festival at Cameron Park Kart Raceway, Cameron Park, near Newcastle, New South Wales, on the weekend of August 16 and 17.

Twizy is the third Renault zero-emissions vehicle to be trialled in Australia after the Fluence ZE sedan and Kangoo ZE light van. Examples of the latter are under test by Australia Post.

As well, Renault engineers brought a Zoe ZE prototype to Australia for hot weather testing, but under disguise.

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