Looking more like a radio-controlled toy than the product of a carmaker's design studio, Renault has taken its electric urban mini car and combined it with the company's F1 heritage to create the Twizy Renault Sport F1 concept car Twizy is an electric vehicle closest matched to something like the Smart car. Its compact dimensions are aimed at city users who make short journeys through tightly packed streets.
Pairing with F1 technology doesn't come easy, yet it sports exposed slick tires from a Formula Renault 2.0 single-seater on center-lock wheels, a huge front spoiler and rear wing, rear diffuser element, and even an F1-style rain light between the rear wheels taken from a Formula Renault 3.5.
However, Renault is keen to point out it's more than just a visual concept. It actually has a Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS), said to be identical to that on the Renault-powered Formula One cars. The system can boost output six times, reaching a crazy 100hp for 13sec and propelling the car 0-62mph in about 6sec.
The concept is equipped with the production Twizy's original 17hp electric motor, onto which the KERS has been grafted to boost performance. When activated, power climbs instantly to 97hp.
Extracting the extra power wasn't straightforward because the Twizy Renault Sport F1 isn't as fast as an F1 car, so its kinetic energy recovery under deceleration would be insufficient to charge the KERS battery. Therefore, the engineers at Renault Sport Technologies and Renault Sport F1 developed a system that siphons power from the main motor to charge KERS.
Using the steering wheel from a Formula Renault 3.5 racecar, the driver can select two modes. The first is Recovery mode, which allows the electric motor to function like a generator, drawing power from the main motor and converting it into electrical energy. The in Boost mode, the recovered energy can be used whenever the driver presses a button on the steering wheel, reversing the process and delivering approximately 80hp.
Furthermore, the amount of energy recovered while the Recovery mode can be adjusted using a four-position rotary knob, while a second rotary knob enables the Boost mode to be set at one of six pre-set levels, ranging from 10-60kW.
The driver releases the energy stored by the KERS by activating the two steering wheel-mounted paddles at the same time. To show spectators that the system has been activated, the rain light in the diffuser illuminates.
Twizy Renault Sport F1 will be shown at major events throughout the year, beginning with its first public appearances at the World Series by Renault meeting at Aragon, Spain (April 27-28), followed by the Barcelona Auto Show.