Renault Twingo Electric (2021) in the test: not that smart at all

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After more than six years, the small car will become electric. Too late?

Renault Twingo Electric (2021) in the test: not that smart at all-2021

Life punishes those who come too late. This phrase is attributed to Mikhail Gorbachev. It remains to be seen whether it fell exactly like this, it is absolutely correct. For example with a view to the new Renault Twingo Electric.

Introduced in autumn 2020, one wonders about his right to exist. Finally, there is the conventional Twingo since 2014 and the closely related Smart Forfour EQ since 2017.

In addition, there is the successful Renault Zoe internally plus the Dacia Spring as a cheap newcomer. So does the world need an electric twingo? Time for first driving impressions! Visually, the electricity variant differs only in details from the combustion engine. Only the ear can hear differences, because in this Twingo no three-cylinder rattles in the rear.

Picture gallery: Renault Twingo Electric (2021) in the test

Renault Twingo Electric (2021) in the test: not that smart at all-twingo

Instead there is a three-phase synchronous electric motor. It has a power of 60 kW (82 PS), is built by Renault and is also in the Smart Forfour EQ. The latter, like the Twingo Electric, is being built in Novo Mesto, Slovenia. In contrast to the Smart, Renault gives the lithium-ion battery (165 kilograms weight) a little more capacity: 21.4 kWh should be enough for around 190 kilometers, in city traffic even for up to 270 kilometers.

However, there is no CCS charging connection for money or for good words, unlike in the Dacia Spring (600 euros) and the Renault Zoe (1,100 euros in the base). Type 2 charging is the trend, the manufacturer puts the time from 0 to 80 percent in one hour. If you want to take it easy, you can also charge the Schuko socket at home for 15 hours.

Of course, you can hardly charge completely from 0 percent and even an hour is out of the question. But a CCS plug would be nice, also in order not to have to constantly fiddle with the 6.5 meter long charging cable in public spaces.

Otherwise, a lot of the conventional Twingo sounds familiar: The high seating position, the hard plastic in the interior, the 219 liter trunk, the moderate amount of space in the rear. In addition, there is a very conventional cockpit, Renault has not made any major new investments in view of the age of the Twingo. To put it in a positive way: Twingo drivers don't have to get used to it.

In the "Intens" variant that we tested, synthetic leather and (very thin) leather on the steering wheel enhance the rustic ambience. A tip from me: Choose the front center armrest from the accessories for 152 euros plus assembly.

Now let's go! The automatic selector lever slides in clearly noticeable steps from P to D and, with a slight push to the left, into the B gear positions for recuperation. A maximum of level 3 is possible here, which is already close to one-pedal driving.

You quickly notice: The Twingo Electric shows its strengths in the city and its periphery. Narrow, incredibly manoeuvrable, quiet and, as an electric version, quick from a standstill. Many a driver of larger cars can be shown the taillights at the traffic lights. Renault calls 4.2 seconds for the sprint from 0 to 50 km / h.

It stays that way in eco mode, which regulates the Twingo at 105 km / h. This is okay for short trips on the autobahn, especially since the consumption remains very low. Otherwise, the tiny man manages a maximum of 135 km / h in normal mode, but this sucks more clearly on the battery content. In addition, significant wind noises are disturbing.

Since we're on the subject: Of course, the small battery clearly limits the Twingo's radius of action to the city. As the best value with a fully charged battery, we measured 207 kilometers in eco mode and 188 kilometers "normal" at an outside temperature of 28 degrees. Depending on the weather conditions, however, 20 to 25 kilometers can be deducted from it.

The consumption is positive: In the city, the Eco mode is completely sufficient, so we were able to reduce the factory specification from weighted 16.3 to 16.0 kWh per 100 km to values ​​below 13.0 kWh in some cases. We noticed the tight unwinding behavior negatively, manhole covers are noticeably passed through. Perhaps this was due to the mounted 16-inch wheels; 15-inch models could bring some improvement.

What does the Renault Twingo Electric cost? Not yet available, but the basic version called "Life" is already in the price list for 21,790 euros, or under 13,000 euros after premiums. It sounds tempting in terms of price, but only offers absolute basic equipment without air conditioning.

Our test Twingo with extras was a hefty 27,770 euros. As a golden mean, we recommend "Zen" with automatic air conditioning and 7-inch infotainment for 23,790 euros. Plus the city package with electrically adjustable exterior mirrors and parking beeps at the rear (250 euros) and the heated seats in the front (290 euros).

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But the Twingo Electric should still have a hard time, it will probably depend on the leasing rate. Why? On the one hand, the internal competition: A Dacia Spring is much slower, but also much cheaper. Including GPS and CCS connection, it is 22,390 euros before premiums, the Renault Zoe with a 41 kWh battery and a range of over 300 kilometers starts at 29,990 euros. In addition, the Zoe is currently leased from ADAC for as little as 99 euros.

The electric Twingo could be suitable for anyone who doesn't want to wait for the Dacia Spring until autumn 2021. But even then, the more attractive electric city car from Fiat will come: the new Fiat 500 is available as "Action" with a 23.8 kWh battery, a similar range (around 180 km), but a lot of modern interior, air conditioning and 50 kW fast charging via CCS included for 23,560 euros before bonuses. We like to do without rear doors.

Conclusion:

We have to say it so hard, but the Renault Twingo Electric is five years late. It drives great in the city, but looks old-fashioned, especially when compared to the new Fiat 500. Measured against what is offered, the list prices are too high. Low leasing rates could possibly make the Twingo palatable. Otherwise our recommendation is: Renault Zoe, Dacia Spring, Fiat 500 Action or maybe a used Smart Forfour EQ.

Renault Twingo Electric Intens (2021)

engine Separately excited three-phase synchronous electric motor

power 60 kW (82 PS)

Max. Torque 160 Nm

battery Lithium-ion, water-cooled, 8 modules, 96 cells, 21.4 kWh nominal capacity, 165 kg weight

drive Rear wheel drive

Acceleration 0-100 km / h 12.9 sec.

Top speed 135 km / h (electronically limited)

Electric range 190 km / 270 km (urban)

length 3,615 mm

broad 1,646 mm

height 1,541 mm

Trunk volume 219 – 980 liters

Empty weight 1,168 kg

Payload 350 kg

consumption 16.3 – 16.0 kWh / 100 km (factory specification according to WLTP)

Charging time 22 kW (three-phase, 32 A) (0 – 80%) Wallbox / charging station: 1 h; 3.7 kW (single-phase, 16 A) (0 – 100%) Wallbox: 8 h

Base price 24,690 euros

Price of the test car 27,769.99 euros

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