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26 April 2013

Oh sweet Lord it’s the Renault Twizy F1

Renault sticks a proper F1 KERS module in its tiny electric two-seater. This cannot end well...

Sam Philip
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Renault has a grand history of combining its F1 operation and road cars with furniture-chewing results. Remember 1994's Espace F1, with its 820bhp V10 Williams F1 engine?

Well, now Renault has cooked up an Espace F1 for this downsized, electric age... by stuffing a proper F1 kers system into a Twizy. This, Planet Earth, is the Twizy Renaultsport F1 concept car, and we love it.

Even the steering wheel is adapted from the Formula Renault 3.5 racer, with a rotary knob allowing the driver to select one of three pre-set levels for the KERS boost

In normal running, the Twizy's dual electric motors produce the same 17bhp as the standard road car, but detonate the KERS and it can generate 97bhp for approximately 13 seconds.

If you're thinking ‘97bhp? Doesn't sound like much', remember how absurdly tiny and light the Twizy is. The power-to-weight ratio of this KERS-powered midget is just a fraction off that of the Megane RS 265, which means a 0-100kph time of six seconds flat. With a wheelbase measurable in inches rather than feet, and rear-wheel drive, that'll be a squirmy experience.

Though top speed is a mere 110kph, at that point the electric motor will be spinning at 10,000rpm and the KERS module at 36,000rpm. We imagine this 110kph may feel quite scary.

The Twizy F1 borrows much from the Formula Renault 2.0 single-seat racer, along with a F1-inspired smorgasbord of downforce-generating gubbins: check out that ‘box' rear wing, delicious endplates on the front wing and track-only slick tyres.

Even the steering wheel is adapted from the Formula Renault 3.5 racer, with a rotary knob allowing the driver to select one of three pre-set levels for the KERS boost. We have no idea why you would turn this knob from any setting but ‘maximum'. Kimi wouldn't.

Because the Twizy won't generate as much kinetic energy under braking as an F1 car, Renault has revised the KERS system to allow it to draw power from the Twizy's electric motor, charging the battery on the move. The entire KERS module weighs just 30kg, and takes the place of the Twizy's rear seat. No passenger rides here, for which your potential passengers may be thankful.

The Twizy F1 will tackle the Goodwood hillclimb during the Festival of Speed in early July. We have literally no idea what sort of noise it will make, and would very much appreciate your sonic suggestions in the box below.

Tags: renault, twizy, f1, formula one, twizy f1

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