Renault has given the Twizy electric car a mad twist by bolting on an F1-style KERS system for Megane Renaultsport 265-worrying performance available for the very brave. The Twizy Renault Sport F1 Concept sits on single seater racing wheels, has an F1-apeing front splitter, side-pods, rear wing and even a rear diffuser to make the link to the racing side of Renault’s activities.
F1-style KERS in a Twizy? How does that work then?
KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) uses regenerative energy captured under braking and is then stored up in batteries rather than lost as heat. This energy is then recovered and stored. The KERS system comprises of three parts; an electric motor-generator unit (MGU) directly linked to the driveshaft; separate lithium-ion batteries and a KERS control unit (KCU).
The MGU works, as the name implies, works as both generator and motor. In generator mode it works to convert mechanical energy into electrical energy which is then stored in a battery. When the energy is needed it is then reversed and switches to ‘motor’ mode to deliver the stored energy.
It’s not really that fast is it?
Although the Twizy F1 is being pitched as a fun take on the electric city car it is packing some pretty serious performance. Renault claims the KERS boosta the power six-fold to deploy 100bhp and accelerate as quickly as a Renault Sport Megane 265. That means a 0-62mph sprint in the region of 6.5sec.
The Twizy F1 has two electric motors; the original Twizy 17bhp motor with the KERS system bolted onto it which when activated boosts power to 97bhp.
Tell me about the Twizy F1's two KERS modes
The biggest problem with the Twizy and KERS is that the basic car isn’t really fast enough to generate enough energy to power up the batteries. To get around this the battery can be charged by siphoning off energy from the main motor.
The are two KERS modes; the first ‘Recovery’ mode where the electric motor functions like a conventional generator to convert the mechanical energy into electrical. Up to 4kW can be siphoned off in this way to charge the battery while on the move. The second mode is ‘Boost’ mode which uses the energy generated in ‘Recovery’ mode can be re-employed whenever the driver wishes by tapping the button on the steering wheel. This means the KERS acts as a motor to bring a power boost to the principal motor which is directly linked to the driveshaft.
When is it going on sale?
Don’t hold your breath. This has been done purely to show off Renault's electric vehicle engineering nowse. The firm has pinned big hopes on the yet-to-start electric car revolution.