How can we make rugged minimalism cool?

7052Good to see other micro electric cars for local journeys in development but, sadly, they are always city focused and not suitable at all for our rougher rural roads. Most disappointingly, they are always also way more expensive than Twizys. This Siemens-backed entrant (see above) is predicted to cost £17,500 – that’s 2.5 times the price of a Twizy and it would last 5 minutes with that clearance on our rural lanes.

Why is no-one excited by minimalistic design?? – how much fancy “car-ness” do you need if you are nipping down the road for a pint of milk or 5 miles through town to reach your office? As the Twizy (or for that matter buggies)  show minimalism can be funky and cool. Over the years, stars at Hay Festival have certainly jumped at the chance to drive and be seen in our various eco-funky vehicles.

jasonbradbury

Jason Bradbury in our b-bug

John Barrowman

John Barrowman in Thierry Twizy

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Twizys for the America’s Cup Team in Bermuda

Renault_delivers_ten_Twizy_to_America%u2019s_Cup_challenger_Groupama_Team_France_(1)_nlmGreat to see the French team for the America’s Cup have been allocated Twizys to get them around in Bermuda! Excellent choice. Our Twizy fleet is associated with slightly slower moving boats!

Twiggy CNB

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Our Winsome pedal boat’s next adventure

caledonian winsomeWe’re delighted that our 17 foot pedal boat, Winsome, is going to be doing the length of the Caledonian Canal from Inverness to Fort William at the start of May. Friends are borrowing the craft for the trip and pedalling in a good cause too. This is Winsome’s 2nd trip on the Caledonian – she was certainly a star on her earlier trip (see above) and we expect nothing less this time around. This is eco-travel at its most relaxing.

 

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Twizy Alternative?

eli_zero_evWe really like the bench seat configuration (side by side seating) in this newly-announced Twizy variation, the Eli Zero Two.  But giving it a fully enclosed cabin throws away the Twizy quirkiness and fun factor and makes it a pretty ordinary very small car. Couple that with a 25mph top speed and you have a very small and very slow car! Not a great combination. We’ll track its progress though while we continue our own side-by-side Twizy seating experiments.

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Side-by-side Twizy seating experiment

The majority of our Eco Travel Network members use their Twizys most days to get around our rural area. This means transporting family members and everyday stuff. You certainly can fit things in the rear seat of a Twizy… dogs, cats, flowers, small people and mail bags…

rearseat

But, it’s always a squeeze when it comes to Twizzling with 2 full-sized adults – especially when you have stuff to carry as well as a passenger or you have hired one of our Twizys for a pleasurable day out – especially as it’s a much less pleasant ride in the rear seat of a Twizy. In our household, turns in the rear seat are closely monitored and carefully shared.

Toots3

We noticed years ago that the Twizy actually has the same footprint as a Smart fortwo so could, in principle, be modified to be wide enough for two sitting side by side. Irritatingly, Renault even published a photoshopped of a side by side seated Twizy once on April Fool’s Day – certainly fooling us.

Apart from being more comfortable for the passenger and better for conversation, the huge advantage would be that it would free up space behind the seats for carrying luggage – those pesky shopping bags, flowers, dogs and cats….

Renault has kindly helped us acquire a bare Twizy chassis and we are now going to use the last of our Green Transport Prize award to see if our friends at Redcastle classic cars can take a shot at creating the first, genuine, side by side seater Twizy (‘Fatboy’) for us to trial. We know it’s not going to be straightforward because of the Twizy driver control configuration and the fact that it will require a wider windscreen. But we feel the experiment is worth trying.

So, here is the skeleton of ‘Fatboy’ ready to truck down to Redcastle Classics in Caerphilly.

Fatboyframe

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Twizy-ing in W. Scotland

Tootsvideo

Great to see our Eco Travel Network Twizy Toots out enjoying the spring sunshine on the stunning coastline around Arisaig. Toots can be hired from Sunnyside caravan site which has just re-opened for the 2017 season.  Click here for the video and drink in the scenery!

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Twizy loan for Niche Vehicle joint project

headless-manOne of our Twizy fleet, Twmpa, is spending a couple of months at Loughborough University Design School as part of our collaborative design project with the Niche Vehicle Network and Far UK. We are exploring the design parameters of a rural, side by side seater, ultra lightweight, low energy Twizy-like vehicle. The 3 month feasibility project is funded by Innovate UK.

Twmpa was welcomed at the Design School last week by a headless man – is this a good omen?

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