Renault Twizy on the tourist trail in Wales

Six of the fun two-seaters supplied to the Eco Travel Network

By Farah Alkhalisi on June 7, 2012 3:33 PM

When Renault first revealed the Twizy, there was a certain amount of scepticism: who, in the UK, would want an open-sided tandem two-seater?

We’ve already discussed the pros and cons of this model in our full road test (short version: it’s great fun to drive) and concluded that it might make a useful urban commuter vehicle or local transport in a tourist resort.

And the tourism industry appears to be taking to the idea: “We are supplying six to the Eco Travel Network for tourists in the Brecon Beacons National Park,” says Andy Heiron, Renault UK’s Head of Electric Vehicle Programme.

Renault has already sold 135 Twizys since the mid-April launch, many – against expectations – going to businesses.

“Twizy has been a surprise as we envisaged it as an almost exclusively (private) retail product,” Heiron explained, “and yet we have a two-month waiting list for fleet demonstrators. We have a large order for Twizy in London where they will be used as a mobile Wi-Fi platform by TfL (Transport for London). Most customers are looking to capitalise on Twizy’s striking looks as a marketing tool around cities.”

In Wales, the Eco Travel Network began two years ago with a pair of buggies built by Dragon Electric Vehicles of Crickhowell. The ‘b-bugs’ (named Boris and Blodwyn) have been trialled by visitors to the Brecon Beacons, and an informal network of recharging points has been established: free-to-use facilities at cafes, pubs, activity centres and suchlike in the area, some using locally-generated electricity from a micro-hydro system.

The Network has now been established as a not-for-profit company leasing vehicles to local businesses, and whilst Boris and Blodwyn have been ‘retired’ for the moment in favour of the Twizys, b-bugs may supplement the numbers again in the future.

The first Twizy on the fleet is making an appearance at the Hay Festival this week as part of the launch of the Community Energy Wales initiative, and it is being used by the festival organisers, who have also been providing free EV charging to festival-goers and participants.

It has, by the way, been called Thierry, and he and his friends will be available for rental from 1st July. Check out ecotravelnetwork.co.uk for more details.