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Renault's tiny Twizy gets the Formula One treatment

Nutso urban runabout boasts latest F1 hybrid tech, hot hatch performance.

By AutoWeek Apr 26, 2013 10:39AM

Renault has applied the state-of-the-art kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) used in its Formula One drivelines to the pint-sized Twizy electric car.

The result? A new zero-emission concept whose claimed 0-62-mph acceleration time matches that of the French carmaker's fastest production car, the RenaultSport Megane 265, at 6.0 seconds.

The concept has been dubbed the Twizy F1, and it represents the result of a collaboration between engineers from RenaultSport's production-car operations and RenaultSport's F1 department.

The flamboyant single-seater was conceived to show that Formula One technology can successfully be applied to road cars; the KERS used to power the rapid rear-wheel drive Twizy is brought over without any significant change from the driveline used by the Red Bull, Lotus, Williams and Cataham teams, says RenaultSport.

The Formula One-sourced KERS features an electric motor, lithium-ion battery pack and control unit. It is incorporated into the standard driveline module and is mounted in place of the rear seat in the production Twizy, which in standard guise boasts a tandem seating layout .

The KERS operates in one of two modes. In recovery mode it gathers kinetic energy generated under braking and periods of trailing throttle, storing it in the battery for use during periods of acceleration. In boost mode, it provides 79 hp on top of the Twizy's usual 17 hp, sufficient to see it match the performance of contemporary European hot hatchbacks.

The packaging of the KERS has added 200 pounds to the Twizy's curb weight, taking it up to 1,243 pounds.

The Twizy F1 flaunts an extravagant body kit modeled on the appearance of modern-day Formula One race cars. Included are prominent wings front and rear, ground-hugging side sills and a rear diffuser. A yellow and black paint scheme is reminiscent of Renault's traditional F1 livery.

Unfortunately, Renault says it will remain a strict one-off.

-- Greg Kable

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