14-Year Olds Can Now Drive a Renault Twizy
Being 14 is not fun. You’re a freshman in high school, which puts you at the bottom of the social food chain. You can’t drive or drink, and have to rely on your parents for a ride. Unless, that is, you live in France. Then you just need to beg your parents to buy you a Renault Twizy, a $7,600 “car” that 14-year-olds can now legally drive.
The Twizy is a quadricycle, a 1,000-pound, two-seat electric car meant for zipping around cramped European cities. It’s designed to be a safer alternative to bicycles and scooters for the urban set, sporting a 13-horsepower electric motor and enough batteries to take you 60 miles at a maximum speed of 50 mph. It won’t hold much cargo, but has plenty of room for the essentials.
The Twizy has airbags, seat belts, two seats, headlights, turn signals—all those things that actual cars have. And, thanks to new legislation in France, youths as young as 14 can now drive legally.
Previously, 14-year olds in France with a road safety certificate could only ride mopeds. Now, in order to comply with EU regulations, that same certificate now allows holders to drive “quadricycles”.
To accommodate the new market, Renault is releasing a special, scaled down, slower version of the Twizy specifically for youngsters with a road safety certificate.
Renault says it’s sold some 15,000 Twizys in Europe since launching the thing half a decade ago, and we would love to see the automaker jump the pond and let American teens, or adults, climb in. Unlike other small European cars like the Smart, which is actually kind of expensive (base price is around $13,000), an $8,000 Twizy would be great for city-dwellers who want something faster and safer than a bicycle, and nearly as versatile. This car could be popular for car-sharing services like Zipcar or as an alternative to bike sharing services in cities like New York and San Francisco.
Renault has a strategic partnership with Nissan, so it’s possible the Twizy could make an appearance as a Nissan-badged product. But this is America—where the little car has never flourished, even if the Twizy would make for a cool little city car.