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New Renault 5 E-Tech appears online before official 2024 debut

New images of production-ready retro-styled Renault 5 E-Tech surface online ahead of official launch next year

  • Styling inspired by original Renault 5
  • 52kWh battery will provide 248 miles of range
  • Expected to cost from around £30,000

All too often when a car transitions from a concept to production model, the design is dulled down with the quirkiest features removed, but official patent images of the new Renault 5 EV suggest this will not be the case for the iconic retro car’s revival.

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Renault caused quite a stir when it first revealed it was working on an electric Renault 5 comeback. The French brand announced that the production-ready version will be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in February 2024, but these latest leaks have given us an early preview.

Whilst first UK deliveries of the Renault 5 E-Tech aren’t expected until early 2025, we’ve already driven a prototype disguised under a Clio body – read our first impressions at the bottom of this article.

What do the Renault 5 E-Tech patent images tell us?

We’re glad to see that the production-ready Renault 5 hasn’t lost the retro-charm of the concept car. The photos, published to the World Intellectual Property Organisation’s website, give us a clear view of the 5’s chunky proportions – clearly a modern reinterpretation of the original Renault 5 from the 1970s. It’s a five-door, with strong creases above the wheel arches and short front and rear overhangs adding to the boxy look. 

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The headlights have been simplified for production, omitting the complex cross-pattern light signature of the concept, but still appear to be slim, LED items of the same shape. Renault’s traditional diamond emblem sits above a rectangular air intake, with two, square running lights either side.

Moving around the 5, we can see the rear door handles are hidden within the window frames, similar to its Renault Clio sibling, and there’s a red trim detail running from the wing-mirrors up and around the roof. The tail-lights maintain the vertical layout similar to those of the original car from 50 years ago, now with a black trim piece spanning the boot lid connecting them together.

We saw a disguised prototype of the production-ready 5 earlier this year. It shared the overall outline of the concept car, with the same chunky proportions, five doors and distinctive rear design, all of which have been confirmed by the new patent images. Of course, the usual features you’d expect to be simplified for mass production have changed from the concept; it now has conventional door handles, wing mirrors and wheels that are less extreme in size and appearance.

Is there anything else to see in Renault’s official teaser photos?

Aside from what’s shown in the patent images, Renault’s official teaser photos only reveal a handful of additional, small details. We can just catch a glimpse of the new retro ‘5’ badge that will adorn the bootlid, but perhaps the most unique detail is the digital display on the bonnet below the windscreen. Reminiscent of the bonnet vent found on the original Renault 5, the display provides a visual indication of battery charge level in the shape of a ‘5’.

What else do we know about the Renault 5 so far?

Renault announced plans to create a new version of the classic Renault 5 hatchback at the beginning of 2021. Unlike the 1970s model, the new Renault 5 will be sold solely as an electric car, rivalling other retro-inspired models like the Fiat 500, Honda e and MINI Electric, and will be based on the same platform as the next Nissan Micra and another retro-inspired model, the Renault 4.

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Renault has announced innovative features for the upcoming Renault 5, such as the brand’s first bi-directional on-board charger. This enables owners to sell electricity back to the power grid when electricity tariffs are high, helping to reduce running costs. The feature will first be available in France and Germany in 2024 before being rolled out in the UK in 2025.

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We’re yet to see the Renault 5 EV’s interior, but a pared-back, minimalistic look is expected. This should make it feel both modern and retro – the original car had much less standard equipment than any current Renault model. A large touchscreen similar to the one in the Renault Clio and Renault Captur may be fitted on higher-spec models, negating the need for lots of physical switchgear.

What about range, charging and performance specs?

The Renault 5 will be offered with a 52kWh battery from launch, with a confirmed official range of up to 248 miles (WLTP). This is a comfortable advantage over the 199-mile range of the electric Fiat 500, while the next-generation MINI Electric is also expected to manage around 250 miles between charges. We predict a smaller and cheaper 40kWh battery option will join the Renault 5 range later on.

Charging is expected to follow the path of the Renault Megane E-Tech, which provides owners with speeds of up to 130kW at compatible public charging stations. So long as conditions permit, this should allow 124 miles of range in 30 minutes.

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Power is expected to come from a 134bhp electric motor with power sent straight to the front wheels, for a predicted 0-62mph time of comfortably under 10 seconds.

How much will it cost and when can I order one?

The brand’s CEO, Luca De Meo, has said the 5 will cost from €25,000 in Europe, translating to a UK price closer to £30,000 due to the lack of EV incentives on our shores. This means positioning around the same price as the upcoming MINI Cooper Electric, less than the Peugeot E-208, and a little more expensive than the electric Fiat 500.

The Renault 5 EV is set to go on sale very soon after its Geneva Motor Show debut in February 2024. Customers willing to pay £150 can sign up to a pre-order program, with these first cars expected to arrive in the UK in early 2025.

Renault 5 prototype drive – Alex Goy

Despite the prototype’s Clio body, there are some key differences that hint at its electric heart and new character: the charging port on its nose, the rear wheels sitting further forward in the arches thanks to the platform’s shorter wheelbase, and bolt-on wheel arches to accommodate a wider track. You can also see the platform peeking out under the door line.

In fact, the wide track highlights the Renault 5’s key characteristic: it’s designed to be fun. Where its predecessor, the ZOE, is a relaxed, comfy city car, this is much, much sharper to drive. Its steering is direct, reacting quickly to direction changes, firing the car from point to point with vigour. Its clever rear suspension ensures the rear of the car stays stable – even on snow and ice – with an aim to keep slow and medium-speed driving agile and exciting, while giving a stable high-speed ride too.

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Despite only some brief time with what’ll become Renault’s EV staple, and one in conditions that the UK will rarely, if ever, see, the Renault 5 showed great promise. Its current state of tune is being refined, but the combination of a short wheelbase, low centre of gravity, stellar brakes and wide track widths, show potential for a fantastic city car.

Not only that, but one that honours its much loved 20th-century ancestor. Its debut in 2024 can’t come soon enough.

What does it mean for car buyers?

The new teaser images confirm that the Renault 5 will combine the old-school charm of the original model with a powertrain that’ll bring it right up to date. Leaning on the nostalgia of historic models is a technique many car manufacturers are adopting to help bring in more EV buyers – if the reinvented Renault 5 can combine these features with a reasonable asking price, the supermini could prove as much of a success as the latest Fiat 500.

While performance details aren’t yet known, it should offer similar – or slightly better – statistics than its main rivals, and also promises to be fun to drive. Crucially, it should be slightly cheaper than the similarly retro Honda e and MINI Electric, so we can see this becoming a popular model when it finally hits showrooms.

Read our guide to the cheapest electric cars on sale now...

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