Duo two-seater is built with a focus on car sharing
Quirky two-seater from new mobility brand will take on the Citroen Ami in the tiny urban EV segment
Renault will bring the two-seat electric Duo from its Mobilize mobility brand to the UK, the company has confirmed.
Mobilize will launch the Duo in the second half of next year as part of a wider expansion of its mobility businesses across Europe and other markets.
The Duo – effectively a successor to the Renault Twizy – will be targeted primarily at car-sharing businesses either owned by Renault itself, including Zity, or other operators looking for low-cost vehicles. Renault did not say which schemes would offer Duo first.
Renault has previously said the Duo would be available on subscription, but it’s not clear that would be aimed at private customers.
“Duo is a breakthrough for car-share operators,” Fedra Ribeiro, chief operating officer for Mobilize, said at a Mobilize presentation on Tuesday. She promised it will cut operating costs by 35% compared with a standard four-seat car.
Car-share business where the vehicles are free-floating are hard to make money on, and earlier this month, Mercedes and BMW sold their joint ShareNow business to Stellantis after years of losses.
The Duo will become the Renault Group’s “first software-defined vehicle” when it launches next year, Ribeiro promised. Mobilize has engineered the Duo with a sophisticated computing platform that will help both operators and customers, the company said. “We have to make sure they have an exceptional experience,” Ribeiro said. She promised a seamless process “in finding the car, charging the car, even having fun”.
Mobilize will bring “gamification” to the process, she said, without elaborating. Mobilize will unveil the interior of the Duo at the Paris motor show in September, promising a “different experience”.
The design of the car will put a strong focus on its sharing function. “We are designing vehicles for sharing. It’s not just a word. It’s a totally different mindset,” said Patrick Lecharpy, Mobilize design director.
The car uses the same bumpers front and back to both cut costs and to allow easy swaps. The bumpers also feature a special pattern to better hide scratches. Inside, meanwhile, the seats will have easy-to-remove covers to enable them to be washed.
No battery or power details have been given but Renault has previously said battery modules will be swappable by hand for faster charging. The car is said to be small enough to fit three into one regular parking space, in the manner of the car’s predecessor, the Renault Twizy.
The Duo is a rival to the Citroën Ami electric quadricycle, which has gone into service in Stellantis’s Free2Move car share scheme on mainland Europe and will be available to buy in the UK later this year, with prices yet to be finalised.
Like the Ami, the Duo will be available with both passenger and van versions, with the latter called Bento.