Renault’s Twizy electric city car has been modified and has become a quasi-Formula 1 car. Equipped with a Renault F1-supplied KERS, the Twizy Renaultsport F1 concept car is now able to accelerate from zero to 62mph in 6.0sec – matching the record set by Renault’s fastest road car, the Renaultport Mégane 265.
For now, this concept is strictly a one-off. This concept is the product of the partnership between Renaultsport and Renaultsport F1 engineers. It is meant to demonstrate that road cars can feature F1 technology, via the integration of a KERS in the Twizy in a way that’s identical to those used on Renault-powered F1 cars.
The 30kg-in-weight KERS system is composed of an electric motor, lithium-ion batteries and a control unit. This concept is a one-seater as the system is located where the Twizy’s rear seat used to be.
It is incorporated into the Twizy’s original 17bhp electric motor. The KERS recovers energy lost when braking and gets this stored in the battery. On a full charge, the Twizy F1 gets an additional 79bhp.
Since the deceleration forces are not as high in the Twizy F1 as in a single-seat race car, the KERS was amended to also get power from the Twizy’s main electric motor so the KERS boost is always on hand.
When the driver chooses the ‘Boost’ mode from the Twizy F1’s Formula Renault 3.5 race car-inspired steering wheel, it is capable of achieving a top speed of 68mph at a maximum 10,000rpm.
The other option is the ‘Recover’ mode. This means that it’s a lot lower than the 36,000rpm that the KERS motor is running at. And so, in order to synchronize, a special reducer gear has been fitted between the motors.
With a weight of 564kg, the Twizy F1 is about 91kg heavier than a standard Twizy. However, the power-to-weight ratio of the Twizy F1 was much improved due to the addition of the KERS system with 1bhp per 5.8kg compared to the standard Twizy’s 1bhp per 25kg.
As a concept car, the Twizy Renault Sport F1 has its very own distinct data logging system. Any information needed can be shown on the multi-page screen, placed on the steering wheel. In addition, it is possible to customize the information shown on the display so that it can display data on the electronic system of the KERS F1 and the Twizy as a whole.
Further, while it is already possible to show a host of parameters, they can all be done in real time. These include the level of charge of the main battery and the KERS battery, the current temperature of the water, and the oil pressure, to name a few. This concept car also has what is known as the “RS Monitor” data logging system. The system is the same as the one in the New Clio R.S. 200 EDC and even the Mégane R.S.
Like the previous system mentioned, this one also enables the driver to get access to various parameters, mainly performance-related, in real time. These include the 50-meter standing start time, 0 to 50 km/h time, 100-meter standing start time, and the 0 to 100 km/h time. On the inside, one will immediately feel a familiarity with the steering wheel considering that it was inspired from the one fitted to the Formula Renault 3.5 race car.
The main difference is that its functions have been modified so that it can work with electric vehicles having the KERS. Another difference is that the rim shows that its diameter is now wider. One interesting feature in this model is known as the Recovery mode. Once activated, it can recover energy, the amount of which can be changed through a four-position rotary knob.
However, there is another rotary knob that allows the power boost to be fixed with 1 of the 6 available pre-set levels, which range from a low of 10 kW up to a high at 60 kW. Stored in the KERS, the energy can be released by simply activating at the same time the two paddles mounted on the steering wheel. In order to know if the system has indeed been activated, there is a rain light, which has been integrated to the diffuser.