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Hold-up for Twizy as LTA seeks further details

New two-seater electric vehicle does not fit into any current vehicle classification, LTA says.

SINGAPORE: Drivers hoping to own a new type of small electric vehicle that blurs the line between cars and motorcycles may have to wait a little longer.

That is because the Renault Twizy, a two-seater electric vehicle, does not fit into any current vehicle classification, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said on Tuesday (June 10).

In a statement to TODAY, the LTA said initial evaluation showed the vehicle does not fall within the classification for motorcycles that Renault had applied for. It added: “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.”

More than two months ago, Renault revealed plans to introduce the Twizy to local roads, pitching it as an easy mobility solution to reduce traffic congestion.

A spokesperson from Wearnes Automotive, the retailer and distributor of Renault here, told TODAY the vehicle is a hybrid of a car and a bike and will likely be priced at around S$20,000.

A two-seater, two-door plug-in electric vehicle with no air-conditioning or proper windows, the Twizy is classified as a quadricycle in countries that have them on their roads such as Italy and Germany.

The vehicle has a top speed of 80kph and features a 17-horsepower engine – about 10 times less powerful than the average car.

The Twizy, a four-wheel vehicle weighing 450kg, does not meet the requirements to be classified as a motorcycle here. Current regulations state that motorcycles need to have fewer than four wheels and must weigh below 400kg.

Responding to queries, the distributor’s spokeswoman said its application categorised the Twizy as a car. She added that it “was understandable that the LTA might be taking a while, but we are open to working with the authorities in reviewing the duties and taxes applicable.”

Meanwhile, transport experts TODAY spoke to said that while such vehicles might be the way forward in green transport, the LTA will need to manage vehicle population numbers.

Said Mr Tham Chen Munn, a traffic consultant: “Demographically, families are getting smaller and these vehicles are more appropriate.”

Associate professor Michael Li, a transport economist, warned that the LTA would have the tricky task of balancing the eco-friendliness of these vehicles with the management of vehicle population growth.

And if the trend of such vehicles catches on, the authorities here might need to play catch up.

Mr Tham added: “As this new form of transport becomes more popular, the LTA would have to work pretty fast in approving this vehicle type for usage in order to keep abreast with (the other countries).”

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