Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Death by Twizy

I have a fascination with cars, and car stories.  This blog is a tragic one, with some moral ends to it.

Renault makes a battery-powered car, which is only sold here in Europe....the Twizy.  It's a simple car...max speed of forty-five kph (38 mph).  The car is sold without the battery pack....you end up leasing that from Renault.  It comes with a drivers seat, and a secondary seat.....although most use the second seat for groceries or their briefcase.  No, there's no spare tire.  And no.....it's not made for long-distance travel (figure roughly 180 kilometers).....so you could drive it to work and back on one charge.

It's a car designed for urban travel....from a "burb" to the job.  There's nothing really fancy about the car.  No thrills.  No mega stereo system.  No soda chiller in the glove-box.

Lightweight?  Yes.  It's got the bare essentials in terms of protection.  It was designed for limited accidents around the city...in traffic of 50 kph or less.

Around 8AM yesterday (Monday).....here in the Hessen region of Germany....we had an older gentleman who was driving his Twizy on the B45.  It's a national road (the B-series signals that category), and it's a four-lane road with highway speeds getting up to around 100 kph (maximum).

There's a rule here in Germany.....which I imagine that ninety-nine percent of residents aren't aware of.......you can't run a batter-powered car on national roads (autobahn or b-series).

This Twizy driver had some issue, and pulled to the side of four-lane.....in the emergency lane.  Some guy in a sports car came quickly up upon the Twizy, and rear-ended the small car.  The old guy (79 years old) in the Twizy?  Dead.  There's basically no real protection for an individual in such a car, and being hit at hefty speed.....leaves generally only one conclusion.

All cops are saying currently....the accident is under investigation.  They might eventually conclude his battery power was failing and he was hoping to coast into some point, or maybe he realized that he was getting passed by just about everyone and felt somewhat fearful.  You just don't know.

At the end of this.....some old guy will be honored at memorial by the end of this week, and folks will come to remember him, and his proud Twizy.

You see.....Germans are awful passionate about their cars.  They do a lot of research.....they ask questions....and they buy a car that they feel some great compassion about.  I suspect this guy was a bit of an eccentric character, and this fifteen thousand Euro battery-powered car was his "toy".  The rule about not being on national roads with a battery-car?  I'd take a bet that he knew nothing of the rule....nor was it mentioned in the paperwork when he bought the car.  It might be in the instruction manual.....but who reads the manuals these days?

So, a brief ending....death by Twizy.  Had it been a Polo, or Saab, or Volvo.....the old guy would have some neck brace on, and maybe just be a bit bruised about being rear-ended.  But that's not how this story ends.

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