news How did the Twingo 1 go electric?
The first generation Twingo is now thirty years old, and the last units produced came off the lines twenty years ago. A respectable age makes the residents of this city potential retirees. Most Twingos still in circulation have a mechanically worn and faded appearance.
Is that a reason to scrap them and replace them with new cars? No, replied Lormauto, a Norman company, based in Lisieux.
Why dump the cars?
The obsession of this company, present at the last Paris Motor Show, is simple: “Let’s stop throwing away cars”. Instead of building new electric vehicles, Lormauto prefers to modernize light vehicles from the existing fleet.
According to ADEME, electrifying an existing vehicle makes it possible to emit 66% less CO2 compared to maintaining a diesel vehicle, and 47% less compared to buying a new electric vehicle.
The Twingo, a perfect base
To realize this project, the Lormauto company had to choose a mass market model, accessible, valued by customers and not greedy for energy. Features found in the first generation Renault Twingo.
The latest is twenty years old, the age when cars are often scrapped. The boss of Lormauto, Sébastien Rolo, explains to us: “The longer you drive, the less pollution you have. Why throw away a car that is in such good condition, to build a new car from A to Z? We replace the wear on the Twingo, to give it a second life”.
What is a retrofit?
“To modernize these Renault Twingos, we “retrofit” them. That is, we replace their thermal components with electrical ones. Due to the use of driving electric pollutes significantly less than gasoline or diesel, and because this operation allows us to significantly extend the life of the vehicles. In a 20 or 30 year old Twingo, the engine is definitely very tired. We will replace it with new mechanics, and 100% electric. We believe there is another way of designing, a more sustainable, more efficient and more respectful way for the environment.” But this Twingo is not just a retrofitted vehicle.
A refurbished Twingo
Once at the Lormauto workshops, the Twingo was dismantled, inspected and emptied of its thermal mechanics. Electric motor and batteries installed. Suspensions, tires, brakes, were replaced with new elements.
Inside, this Twingo has been completely gutted as well. We threw away the old carpets, the seats were boned, fitted with new foams, to receive new coatings.
The dashboard was cleaned, degreased, and repainted in a black shade, the best effect. The Twingo Lormauto also receives a digital control screen facing the driver. So upgraded, one has the impression of entering a new vehicle.
An original offer
Sébastien Rolo explains: “At first, we only offered rentals. The idea is not to throw the car away. If it is sold to individuals, it is difficult to control this aspect. With the lease, we remain the owner of the vehicle. After the rental, we can continue to rent it. But the other advantage is that we can continue building the car for a long time. That’s why we came up with the modular and scalable Lormautos. Any changes can be included here. Everything is interchangeable, which guarantees its modernity. Tomorrow if a new, better battery is put on the market, there is nothing stopping us from equipping our cars with it.
How much is that ?
The electric Twingo, a miracle solution? This will require approval of retrofitted vehicles. A long and tedious operation.
“We started this process some time ago and we are nearing completion. We expect to complete all stages of the registration process by the end of March 2023.” An approval that is not a specification, if we are to believe the number of vehicles that have actually been approved for retrofit to date. “Once this approval is obtained, we intend to offer this vehicle for 200€ per month, for rental. We hope to benefit from state aid for electric vehicles. This will allow us to offer a rental for €100 per month” refers to the owner of Lormauto.
Equipped with a 16 kWh battery, the Twingo Lormauto should offer a range of between 100 and 130 km, sufficient for urban use.