Long term report: Renault Twizy won't be killed off just yet


Long term report: Renault Twizy won't be killed off just yet

The Renault Twizy south coast fan club base is building steadily. You may remember in previous reports how our little electric car had been coveted by Waitrose check out girls and most of the team in the office.

Well, now we can add builders, bin men and PR officers from other manufacturers to the list.

All were desperate to sit in our Twizy and learn as much about it as they could, about how it works and what it's like to live with. I am too. I'm fascinated by the car much more than any of the other cars on our long term test fleet and am still impressed the French firm actually gave it the go ahead for production.

I can't imagine the marketing meeting when it was pitched. In fact I can't help thinking it was one designer's idea of a practical joke that backfired when the board decided he should go ahead and make it.

I think it's a crying shame that Renault admitted this month that it has only managed to sell 388 of them in the UK so far. Granted it's not really suited to our climate – although in the last few weeks I have been enjoying the fresh air that a lack of windows offers.

Slightly more impressive is the fact the French manufacturer has shifted nearly 10,000 worldwide.

On the south coast of France I bet it really makes sense. I keep getting the horrible feeling, though, that it can't last. Knowing Renault's propensity for axing models that aren't getting the sales – remember the Avantime? – surely the Twizy's woeful sales figures mean its days are numbered?

"We have no plans to drop it," a spokesman told me when I begged for reassurance that they wouldn't be killing it off. "In fact far from that we're actually expanding the range with the Twizy Cargo, broadening the appeal and making it more relevant to more people.

"We're also offering personlisation options for Twizy buyers. They are far from shrinking violets so our Design Your Own Twizy scheme makes sense."

I hung up the phone feeling rather more confident the Twizy might be with us just a little bit longer.

Meanwhile, I'm not the only one who's been using the Twizy. My colleague James Batchelor has been commuting in it quite a bit recently. He lives 15 miles away from the office, out in the sticks, and his commute combines dual carriageways with hills and stop start town traffic.

I was amazed to jump in it after he'd driven into the office to see the range was still on 41 miles.

Whenever I drive it, the maximum I get out of a charge is 44 miles. It's all down to different driving styles – where as I have a heavy right foot, Batch works the regeneration hard on his commute, adding handy mileage to the range. I've also managed to work out the optional Bluetooth handsfree kit and it streams my phone's music – handy considering there's no radio, but it just needs to go a little louder as the tyre and wind noise can drown it out.

I also managed my first overtake this month, dispatching an elderly Toyota Yaris driver doing 30mph in a 40mph zone in a far-from butt clenching manoeuvre.

And finally I've also worked out a very nifty recharging routine: Drive it until there's 10 miles left on the range and let a colleague take it home... next time I get in there's a full charge to enjoy. Magic.