New Renault 5 retro EV to debut at 2024 Geneva Motor Show and it’s cheaper than you might think
The production version of the iconic Renault 5 will cost around £30,000 and will be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in 2024
- Styling inspired by original Renault 5
- Expected to cost from around £30,000
- We’ve had a go in a prototype
Renault caused quite a stir when it first revealed it was working on an electric Renault 5 revival. Now the French brand has announced that the production-ready version will be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in February 2024.
The Renault 5 EV is set to go on sale very soon after this, with the brand’s CEO, Luca De Meo, saying it will cost from €25,000 in Europe. That would suggest that the car is likely to cost closer to £30,000 in the UK 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 Fiat 500e.
We’ve driven a prototype of the new Renault 5 disguised under a Clio body, read our first impressions at the bottom of this article...
What 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.
Prototype vehicles revealed earlier this year share the overall outline of the show car, with the same chunky proportions, five doors and distinctive rear design. Only the usual features you’d expect to be simplified for mass production appear to have changed from the concept; it now has conventional door handles, wing mirrors and wheels that are less extreme in size and appearance.
The styling is a modern reinterpretation of the iconic Renault 5 design, with LED lighting elements and tiny overhangs. It’ll be a five-door, with the rear door handles hidden in the rear pillars. Clever touches include daytime running lights in place of the original’s fog lights and the bonnet air vent repurposed as a charging port.
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.
We’re yet to see the Renault 5 EV’s interior, but a pared-back look is expected. This would make it feel both modern and retro because 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.
Range, charging and performance specs
The Renault 5 is expected to be offered with the option of a 40kWh or 52kWh battery, with an anticipated range of up to 249 miles for the latter. This should give it an 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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
It looks like the electric Renault 5 concept combines 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 technical details like range and performance 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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