April 27 2013

Renault F1 Department get their hands on the new Twizy!

Renault has turned its Renault Twizy electric city car into a quasi-Formula 1 car. The Twizy Renaultsport F1 concept car uses a Renault F1-supplied KERS to match the 0-62mph time of 6.0sec of Renault’s fastest road car, the Renaultport Mégane 265.

The concept is a strict one-off for now and is the result of a collaboration between Renaultsport and Renaultsport F1 engineers. It is designed to show that F1 technology can filter down to road cars, through the integration of a KERS in the Twizy that exactly mirrors that of those fitted to Renault-powered F1 cars.

The 30kg-in-weight KERS system features an electric motor, lithium-ion batteries and a control unit. It is fitted in place of the rear seat in the Twizy (the concept thus being a one-seater) and is grafted onto the Twizy’s original 17bhp electric motor.

Energy lost under braking is recovered by the KERS and stored in the battery. When fully charged, an extra 79bhp is on tap for the Twizy F1. The deceleration forces are nowhere near as great in the Twizy F1 as in a single-seat race car, so the KERS has been adapted to also draw power from the Twizy’s main electric motor so the KERS boost is always available.

When the ‘Boost’ mode is selected from the Twizy F1’s Formula Renault 3.5 race car-inspired steering wheel (Recover mode is the other option), its top speed is 68mph at a maximum 10,000rpm. This is much lower than the 36,000rpm the KERS motor runs at, so a special reducer gear is fitted between the motors to ensure they synchronise.

The Twizy F1 weighs 564kg, some 91kg more than a standard Twizy. But the addition of the KERS system has dramatically improved the power-to-weight ratio, the Twizy F1 offering 1bhp per 5.8kg versus the standard Twizy’s 1bhp per 25kg. The Twizy F1’s power-to-weight ratio compares favourably to the 1bhp per 5.2kg of the RS Mégane 265.

The Twizy F1 has been fitted with an extravagant bodykit to fit its name. Included are large front and rear wings, side pods, a rear diffuser with an F1-style rain light and side pods. The yellow and black paintwork is reminiscent of Renault’s past F1 liveries.

Renaultsport engineers undertook the chassis tuning, and ensured the rear-drive Twizy could cope with an extra 79bhp.

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