Warm sunny Friday afternoon, decide to go down to the river to swim. The delightful Twizy has been patiently sitting in our Cae’r Hendre yard all day so time to take it out. I’ll drive down, my partner Pip to drive back up. Seat slid forward Pip clambers into the back, seat slid back I clamber into the front. Foot on brake I insert the key into the key slot in front of me, turn, nothing. Turn it back, turn it forward nothing. Take it out, put it back in, turn, nothing. ‘Let me try’ voice from the back. I clamber out, seat forward, Pip clambers out, seat back, Pip clambers into front. Sticks key in slot, turns nothing. “does this open?” says Pip trying to lift lid of storage space. I explain that the left hand space is not lockable but the right hand one is. A silence follows. Pip withdraws the key and leaning forward inserts it into the ignition slot positioned on the side of the steering column. This slot of course is positioned where 90 percent of all vehicles have it positioned. The only excuse for our ineptitude we can come up with is that we have a Scenic, also made by Renault, that doesn’t have a key but a piece of rectangular plastic that is inserted into a slot on the dash with a button above it marked START.
We change our positions, turn key, dash lights up. Foot on brake, hand brake off press the R button, foot on accelerator and in total silence Twizy glides back wards. Turn wheels, press D foot on accelerator and we silently move forward out of the gate onto the single track road. Foot further down and it really speeds up, takes off almost as fast as our Scenic. The road is a bit rough and potholed, the suspension a little firm shall we say. My bum is not as young as it was and has little padding but hey, this is a great ride. The vehicle behaves like a car but with no gears, and no sides either. As the farmer we passed pointed out it has excellent air conditioning. Down the long steep pitch, how will it perform coming back I ponder, over the hump canal bridge and onto the major road. Ah! That’s better we’re on a smooth tarmac surface and Twizy glides along. Not silently as the faster you go the more whirring noise the electric motor emits, but it’s nothing compared to a car. We wave at passers by like we were royalty. Gliding to a stop outside the village shop we disembark and pop down onto the river bank.
A while later we return with Pip driving. I clamber into the back, Pip slides the driver’s seat back so my legs are either side of it. The position is a lot more comfortable than it looked, in fact it’s fine. Stop off at Pub for a beer then home. Over the humped canal bridge and without a murmur Twizy glides up the steep pitch without any drop in speed. I am very impressed. Into our yard and plug it in to the socket for a quick recharge.
Next day into Brecon, a round trip of 25 miles. This is real travelling along grown-up roads being used by grown-up vehicles. We travel as fast as you would in a car but without having to slow down round bends. Twizy is narrow so there’s always room for her between the verge and oncoming vehicles. Then the big moment, we join the A40. Pulling out onto the dual carriageway, put foot down and we are travelling at over 50 mph, holding our own against all comers before we slow down again approaching the roundabout. For reasons I cannot explain neither of us feel vulnerable as we speed along, wind blowing along and in the open sides, far less vulnerable than on a bike, motor or otherwise.
It is now back from the town, parked elegantly in our front yard with a coil of flex emerging from the front like an umbilical cord running into the socket in the studio.
It’s brilliant to drive and great fun. What is it?
Is it a car?
Is it a buggy?
Is it a go-cart?
NO! It’s a TWIZY and it’s lovely.
In due course we shall buy one.