Driven: Renault Twizy Cargo van review


Renault announced that it was aiming to become the world’s leading manufacturer of electric vehicles in 2011. Since that time the company has been busy, along with its world partner Nissan, launching a range of cars and vans in a bid to achieve its objective.

In the case of LCVs, Renault launched the Kangoo ZE with the novel idea of selling the van but leasing the batteries, helping to alleviate any fears potential buyers might have about their longevity.

However, the path towards acceptance of electric vans hasn’t been a smooth one and this green sector has been kept on the sidelines of total LCV sales.

Despite this, the French manufacturer has doggedly ploughed on with its plans.

It is pretty clear by now that electric power is not for the heavier end of the market (Iveco launched an electric Daily four years ago and has yet to sell one in the UK), so it makes sense to instead concentrate on the light end.

And they don’t come any lighter than the model on test here, the Twizy Cargo.

This vehicle is the most bizarre van on the roads today bar none and many readers will no doubt be scoffing at the idea that it has any place in the fleet market at all.

But the fact is that everyone stops and stares as the Twizy buzzes by. If your company decals were emblazoned on the side, they’ll be looking at them too.

So what exactly does the Twizy Cargo have to offer? Weighing in at a base price of £7,795 ex-VAT plus between £30 and £75 a month for the batteries, this van is fully electric and has the rear seat taken out from the car version to provide a 180-litre load space in the back, with a payload of 75kg. It doesn’t sound a lot but you’d be surprised how much you can cram in with a bit of ingenuity.

On the road, its maximum speed is 50mph (you really wouldn’t want to go any faster than that, believe me) and range is estimated at around 62 miles.

There are one or two jaw-dropping points about this van, the main one being that side doors come as a paid-for extra at £545! Yes, the basic-priced vehicle leaves you unprotected against any side impacts.

Even with the doors in place you don’t get any side windows, so the driver will be liberally soaked in the event of
a rainstorm.

On the plus side, the basic price does include an immobiliser, a driver’s airbag, alloy wheels, metallic paint and a heated windscreen.

Being an electric vehicle there is no VED to pay either, and entry to the London Congestion Charge zone is free.
One thing is for sure – this van offers 100% fun on the roads. I didn’t take it far from home, but it accelerates like a rocket and flicks round the corners like a go-kart.

It’s pretty tall too, so it doesn’t feel as though the cars are towering above you.

In fact, I was rather sad that our test time only covered two days – I was getting to like this quirky little contender.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.