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Cross a Formula 1 car with a golf cart, and you get the Renault Twizy F1

April 25, 2013

Most automakers stay out of Formula 1 racing because of the massive costs and minor returns; the technology necessary to make a competitive F1 car has little application to the vehicles built for the road. (That's why Porsche will go back to Le Mans instead.) To further prove the point, Renault has taken its Twizy urban car — essentially an upscale electric golf cart legalized for city driving — and mated it with the hybrid KERS system used by Renault's F1 teams, along with proper racing wings, spoilers and race tires. It's so ridiculous, it's genius.

While the Twizy can only go 53 mph in civilian form, the F1 version quintuples the available horsepower from 17 hp to 97; when activated from the racing-style steering wheel, this Twizy can hit 62 mph in about 6 seconds, although max speed is just 68 mph. Since the KERS system used by Red Bull, Lotus and other teams powered by Renault engines spins at 36,000 rpm, Renault engineers had to put reduction gears to mate the kit with the Twizy's far less powerful motors; the KERS can also be charged by the Twizy's batteries, since the car itself can't generate enough speed to power it otherwise.

Renault only built the Twizy F1 to show that it could, and yet it makes for a more interesting F1 crossover than trying to get Sebastian Vettel's name on an Infiniti. Now if they could put a KERS in a real sports car, we'd have something.