Most of you are familiar with the antics of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May on the BBC’s Top Gear show. That trio was famous for filming themselves doing ridiculous things in cars — gigantic burnouts and lurid power slides — while driving some of the world’s fastest and most powerful cars.
What Car? — another group of lads from the UK — has done something quite the opposite. They assembled 4 electric microcars or quadracycles and put them through their paces on a test track that included a slalom course and a 400 meter drag race. All in all, it was one of the slowest drag races in history — and one of the quietest. The contestants — if that is the right word — were a Renault Twizy, a Citroen Ami, a Micro Electric, and a 2009 Reva G-Wiz. Here’s the video:
“Drag race” and “Twizy” are not words you often find in the same sentence. And frankly, that part of the video is the least important. What the viewer learns is less about ultimate performance — performance in this case being a relative term — and more about all 4 cars and what they are like to live with in the real world.
Suffice to say, all of them are primarily intended for low-speed urban commuting. Only the Twizy can be driven legally on the motorway in the UK. It is also the most expensive, even though doors are an extra cost option. The rest are too slow, with the Ami limited to a top speed of just 28 mph. The Micro Electric, meanwhile, comes with air conditioning, a sunroof, and an actual touchscreen.
When it comes to handling, the Ami was the clear winner, while the rest had cornering characteristics ranging from marginal to downright scary. None was judged to have a comfort level satisfactory for more than short trips across town.
The video is informative and entertaining to watch. An electric microcar may not be your cup of tea, but keep in mind the Wuling Guang MINI EV microcar is outselling the Tesla Model 3 in China. Clearly, there is a market for these tiny transportation devices.
A comment on YouTube from Iain Rowan sums it up nicely. “The Twizy is awesome! I had one for nearly 2 years. So much fun to drive especially with a tuning kit. Yes it’s not practical, it has no windows and it can’t be locked but that just makes it even more quirky. I found all sorts in my Twizy of a morning, leaves, animals and even snow. Just be prepared for the constant attention.”