Of everything we could’ve said after driving Renault’s bonkers Twizy EV, “fast” probably wouldn’t have been included. Turns out, we just needed to wait for the Renault Sport F1 team to breathe some guts into it, and come up with the “improbable and spectacular” (and that’s in Renault’s own words!) Twizy Renault Sport F1 Concept, capable of the same 0-62mph speed as the company’s highest-performing road car.
Transplanted from Renault’s F1 cars is the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS), which temporarily provides a massive boost in power. In the case of the Twizy concept, it increases horsepower sixfold, to almost 100 BHP, giving it the same acceleration as a Mégane Renaultsport 265.
Normally, the Twizy Renault Sport F1 Concept trundles along on the regular car’s 17 HP motor, but when the KERS system is activated, a second motor – which has been gathering up kinetic energy created during braking – kicks in for up to 13 seconds, pushing total power output to 97 HP. Clever synchronization – using the drive gears from an F1 V8 engine – harnesses the two motors together.
Since a normal Twizy doesn’t typically build up sufficient decelerative power to fully juice the KERS up, the F1 and Renault Sport teams came up with a fudge that can temporarily suck energy from the regular motor. In “boost mode”, triggered by a button on the F1-style steering wheel, a rotary control can adjust how much KERS is charged with from the regular drive system; two paddles, when pulled simultaneously, squirt out that energy and send the car hurtling down the road.
Meanwhile, the moon-buggy external looks have been made even more bizarre with the addition of race car wheels, a front splitter, side pods, a rear wing, and a diffuser. Sadly, Renault shows no inclination to actually sell the Twizy Renault Sport F1 Concept, instead using it as an eye-catching proof of concept to highlight its KERS technology.