The Renault Twizy is now available for European customers to reserve online ahead of its launch at the beginning of next year.
The two-seater micro electric car will be priced from £6690 ($10,200) drive away in the UK, making it significantly cheaper than the brand’s current entry-level vehicle, the £8995 ($13,750) Renault Twingo.
Leasing the battery will cost an additional £40 ($61) per month on a 36-month contract.
The Twizy will be manufactured in Valladolid, Spain. Two variants – Urban and Technic – are currently on display at the 2011 Barcelona Motor Show.
Renault is pitching the Twizy as a safer, more comfortable and more practical alternative to a scooter, which are popular in many European cities.
Renault says the Twizy is more agile than a car, with the 12.7kW electric motor providing acceleration similar to a scooter. The Twizy has a range of 100km and a full recharge from a standard power point takes just three and a half hours.
The compact design seats one passenger directly behind the driver, and the overall weight is just 450kg (the battery weighs 100kg).
The Twizy will be among the first Renault ‘Z.E.’ (zero emission) electric vehicles to launch internationally by March 28 next year. Also included will be the Kangoo Z.E., Fluence Z.E. and Zoe Z.E.
Despite Renault’s global commitment to electric vehicles, Renault Australia’s Emily Ambrosy said she had no indication of when the first Renault Z.E. vehicles would arrive in local showrooms.
“We haven’t confirmed anything at this stage,” Ms Ambrosy said.
“We’re focusing on making our ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles a success at the moment.”
Australia is one of just 38 countries in the world with its own dedicated Renault Z.E. website, seemingly placing it on the radar of Renault headquarters in France to be among the first markets to receive EV technology.
Ms Ambrosy admitted that Renault Australia had a significant interest in electric vehicles, but said questions of availability and timing of EVs in Australia were largely dependent on other factors.
“It’s a big question in terms of infrastructure and government support. In Europe there is a lot of government support for electric vehicles. In Australia, there isn’t any.
“I certainly think it’s a part of everyone’s future.”