Thursday, June 12, 2014

Twizys and turns in bid to get this ride on our roads

Jun 11, 2014


THE Renault Twizy, an electric quadricycle that has been cruising along on European roads, is likely to hit a roadblock here.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has reportedly assessed that the battery-powered vehicle "is not fit for public roads".

According to an online report published on Monday by motoring news magazine CarBuyer, "LTA has not informed Renault dealer Wearnes Automotive that the vehicle does not meet local (standards), but the conclusions already seem certain".

In response to My Paper, LTA said yesterday that it received an application last month "from Renault Singapore to type-approve the Twizy as a motorcycle for use on our roads".

Equipped with four wheels and weighing just 474kg, the eco-friendly vehicle can seat two passengers - one behind the other - and is about the size of a large motorcycle.

Under the Road Traffic Act, a motorcycle has fewer than four wheels and an unladen weight of not more than 400kg.

Hence, the Twizy cannot be classified as a motorcycle.

"As our initial evaluation shows that the vehicle does not fall within the classification for motorcycles, we have asked for more information from Renault Singapore before we can confirm if the Twizy can be approved for use as a vehicle on our roads," an LTA spokesman said.

If it were to be categorised as a small car, it would cost almost $100,000 - far more than the $25,000 it would cost if categorised as a motorcycle.

The certificate of entitlement (COE) premium for small cars - up to 1,600cc and 130bhp - is now $63,190, while that for motorcycles stands at $4,089.

When My Paper contacted Wearnes Automotive yesterday, a spokesman said: "We have not received an official response and we are still reviewing with LTA. Nothing has been confirmed."

The Twizy can be found on the roads of many European nations, including Britain, France and Italy. Over 11,000 units have been sold worldwide so far.

[Renault is trying to register this as a motorcycle. BUT it is about half the size of a car or twice the width of a motorcycle. 

First problem: where to park? And how to charge? It would have to take up a car's parking space. 

OK, say LTA got drunk and approve the application to treat this as a motorcycle. 

Guess what will happen?

Motorcycle COE will go up. 

Currently Motorcycle COE are less than $5000. Because a basic motorcycle costs about $5k (without COE). Or easily below $10k. 

This Renault will cost $20k. It will attract car buyers who can't afford cars or COE for cars. The COE for cars is over $60k. If car buyers see this as a cheap alternative to cars, motorcycle COE will be bid up by these Renault buyers. The car market/demand will spill over to the motorcycles, COE for motorcycles will rise, and the only motorcycles you will see in SG in 10 years time will be Malaysian-reg'd bikes. 

Ok. Ok. Dun exaggerate. the only cheap bikes you will see are MY-reg'd. SG-reg'd bikes will be these Renaults, and big expensive premium bikes - BMW, Harley, who can afford the high COE ($10k? $20k?)

And the low income bike riders/owners will be priced out.

One reviewer (at least) was not impressed by the Twizy.]

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