Renault is hoping that it could grab a piece of the fast-growing European car-sharing market with its new groovy Twizy electric vehicle. The market is currently dominated by carmakers Peugeot, Smart, Volkswagen and BMW. Car sharing is an individual mobility option for people who cannot afford to acquire a personal car in a city due to environmental, space or financial reasons.
According to Frost & Sullivan, it is expected that the number of people using car-sharing services will grow from zero just a few years ago to around 15 million in Europe and 32 million worldwide by 2020.
Many auto manufacturers view their car-sharing programs as a good venue to attract young people. Renault believes the Twizy could employ a similar program since the battery-powered vehicle offers features distinct from what other car-sharing players could provide.
Slightly larger than a scooter, the Twizy is regarded as safer since it has four wheels, a front airbag and seat belts for the driver and the passenger.
Renault plans to test its car-sharing program in the Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines in France this month using a fleet of 50 Twizy EVs for around 200 people in Europe's fast-growing car-sharing sector. Renault plans to launch its "Twizy Way" car-sharing program around France later this year and expand it into big European metropolitan areas in 2013.
Although Renault did not disclose the pricing details for the program, a company spokesman revealed the fee structure would be comparable to other car-sharing services in Europe. Like other car-sharing programs -- like BMW's DriveNow, Daimler's Car2Go, Peugeot's Mu and Volkswagen's Quicar -- Renault will allow customers to reserve the Twizy through a computer or a smartphone and charge them by the hour or by the minute.