Renault has announced that it is to trial a car-sharing scheme that will see a fleet of 50 Renault Twizys take to the streets of the French new town of Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines.
From next week the scheme, named Twizy Way, will make its fleet of electric two-seaters available without a reservation to its 200 or so testers, before opening to the public at large in September.
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The 50-car trial is reminiscent of the inaugural car2go scheme, in which an identical number of Smart Fortwos were released into the wild in the German city of Ulm in 2008. Like car2go, Twizy Way vehicles can be both pre-booked in advance or picked up on a whim by members of the scheme. The car2go program has since expanded to sixteen cities in seven countries, including the UK, Canada and the US. Twizy Way's notable distinction from car2go is the use of all-electric vehicles.
Twizy Way testers are well advised to arm themselves with a smartphone, which can be used to locate the nearest Twizy, book it (though only up to 15 minutes in advance), or to pick up a Twizy on the spot by scanning a QR code on the car - a rare case of a QR code being put to practical use. Twizys can also be booked via telephone or the web, though the same 15-minute window applies.
There are no specifically-allocated Twizy Way pick-up stations, so any designated parking area within the pilot scheme's 27 sq km (10.4 sq mile) zone is fair game. How will the vehicles be recharged? This isa mystery, though Renault says that recharging and vehicle maintenance is its problem. The scheme appears to be wholly funded by Renault which is seeking to demonstrate the suitability of the Twizy to hire schemes of this nature. Its success or failure will become evident by the extent to which the scheme is replicated elsewhere.View gallery - 3 images