New Renault 5 electric car: reborn classic could cost as little as £17,500

A new small electric car inspired by the classic Renault 5 has been confirmed for production – and could cost from around £17,500 when it goes on sale in 2024

Among the many concepts and prototypes on display at the 2021 IAA Mobility motor show in Munich was the reborn Renault 5 electric hatchback, which we learned was officially confirmed for production earlier in the year.

The retro-inspired small electric car will enter production in 2024, with its potential rivals including the Honda e, MINI Electric and the forthcoming production versions of the Cupra UrbanRebel and Volkswagen ID. Life concepts that also debuted at Munich.

The new Renault 5 will be available with either a 40 or 52kWh battery, with the larger unit expected to offer a 249-mile driving range. For reference, the Honda e can only cover 140 miles on a charge, while the entry-level Volkswagen ID.3 just cracks the 200-mile mark.

Like the recently unveiled Renault Megane E-TECH Electric, the 5 will offer rapid charging at up to 130kW. Find a fast enough public charging point and that should allow you to add 124 miles of range in around 30 minutes. However, like both the new electric Megane and the Renault ZOE supermini, that speed isn't likely to be standard on the entry-level model.

Power will come from a 134bhp electric motor, which we’ll begin to see used more across Reanult’s forthcoming electric line-up, as the more standardised part means a cut in manufacturing costs.

While finalised prices for the new Renault 5 haven’t been confirmed, speaking to DrivingElectric at Munich, Renault’s executive vice president for engineering, Gilles Le Borgne, said “This will be a real affordable car. We need to be in the range between €20,000-€25,000 (around £17,500-£21,500), but still be profitable. That's the challenge.”

Renault has previously said the 5 will cost 33% less to produce than the current ZOE. One component that will play a role in that, and Renault producing other affordable electric cars, will be the new CMF-BEV platform from Renault’s alliance with Nissan, which has been designed specifically for use in small electric cars and will make its debut in the 5. The same technology will also be used for Nissan's fully electric successor to the Micra supermini

Earlier this year, Renault CEO Luca de Meo told DrivingElectric: "The mission of that car... is to democratise electric technology in Europe, and you do that when you're able to do a competitive electric car in the range of €20,000 to €30,000 [£17,000 to £26,000]".

According to de Meo: "It has to be a car that's in that range of price; we want to make it simple, accessible and essential. It needs to be an affordable product."

Renault has also confirmed a small retro-inspired electric crossover, called the Renault 4, has been given a green light for production. The original version of the small family car was built between 1961 and 1992 – an astonishingly long production run that generated over eight million sales. The reimagined electric Renault 4 is expected to be slightly more practical than the 5, with a larger boot and the potential for a commercial version, but it will use the same CMF-BEV underpinnings.

Meanwhile, Renault's performance-car offshoot Alpine is developing a faster hot-hatchback version of the 5 featuring a 215bhp electric motor and the larger 52kWh battery. Alpine's more potent version of the 5 should take around six seconds to go from 0-62mph.

New Renault 5 electric design

The new Renault 5 is one of seven new pure-electric Renaults arriving soon. In January 2021, the company released images of a 'Renault 5 Prototype', giving us our first taste of what the production version of the car could look like, with the Munich show providing us with an opportunity to admire it in the metal.

It mirrors the silhouette of the original 5, which was produced in two generations between 1972 and 1996, but with details like the lights and bootlid shape having been modernised. In terms of proportions, the new 5 will reportedly be just 3.9 metres long, which is shorter than a VW Polo, but around the same length as the Honda e, which should help on city streets.

The concept was designed by Gilles Vidal, who previously worked at Peugeot, where he penned a similarly retro-inspired electric concept, the E-Legend coupe. Speaking during a presentation of the 5 Prototype, Vidal said: "The design of the Renault 5 Prototype is based on a cult model of our heritage. This prototype simply embodies modernity, a vehicle relevant to its time: urban, electric, attractive."

On the prototype, the foglights of the original model have been turned into daytime running lights, while the bonnet ventilation scoop now houses the charging port. Unlike the original, which was offered in both three and five-door configurations, the new-generation Renault 5 will be a five-door model only.

The small car will be built in Renault's revamped 'ElectriCity' factory complex, spread across three facilities in northern France, with batteries coming from a new 'gigafactory' to be constructed nearby. The new Renault 4 will eventually be produced in this facility as well.

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