What happens when engineers are bored? Sometimes, they build something like the wacky Renault Twizy Sport F1 concept. Based on Europe's teensy electric car, the Sport F1 concept is a racing-inspired toy with significantly improved performance.
The Renault Twizy concept gets special bodywork including a front splitter, aerodynamic side pods, and a tall rear wing all inspired by Renault Sport race cars. The wheels and slick tires come from the Formula Renault 2.0 single-seater, while the rear "rain light" is cribbed from the Formula Renault 3.5. A new Formula 1-inspired steering wheel is included, too, allowing the driver to pretend he or she is racing around Monaco.
The biggest news is that the car's rear seat has been replaced by a KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) under a glass cover. Like in Formula 1 cars, it allows for a significant power boost. In the case of the Twizy concept, the fully-charged KERS can boost total output to 97 hp. Renault says acceleration is on par with the MéganeRenaultsport 265 -- which hits 62 mph in a claimed 6.0 seconds -- and the top speed climbs to 68 mph. A stock Twizy has 17 hpand a top speed of 53 mph. The concept car weighs 1243 pounds, compared to the normal version's 1043-pound curb weight.
The lithium-ion battery pack is charged when the driver selects "Recovery" mode, and can then be used for a power boost of up to 13 seconds. The KERS incorporates a second electric motor thatmates to the Twizy's stock driver motor by way of a specialized gearset. The KERS motor spins at up to 36,000 rpm.
Sadly, the racing-inspired Twizy is just a concept and won't go into production. Pity, as we'd love to put one through its paces on a track. Renault built the car to highlight the engineering relationship between the Renault Sport race teams and the rest of the company; the racing division helped engineer the Twizy's electric drivetrain in 2010 based on experience gained from developing a Formula 1 KERS.
The project is reminiscent of the Renault Espace F1, a similar engineering exercise devised for the 1994 Paris Motor Show. It involved fitting an Espace minivan with the 820-hp V-10 powertrain from a Formula 1, with predictably ludicrous results.