Renault has revealed that the iconic 5 hatchback is to be revived as the keystone of an electric transformation from the brand that will see seven fully-electric Renaults launched by 2025.
Called the Renault 5 Prototype, it’s a close to production glimpse of a new rival for the Honda e and MINI Electric, albeit with the promise of an affordable price, according to Renault CEO Luca De Meo.
It’s rumoured that the new 5 will be one of two new compact Renault electric cars coming in the next five years – the brand is tipped to revive the Renault 4 in electric form as well, likely sitting beneath the 5 as a smaller, more budget friendly electric city car with a practical edge that could see it used for commercial purposes.
“The project was not in the pipeline. This is the sort of thing that comes from guts of an organisation,” said De Meo, referencing the short turnaround of the new 5 prototype.
“It’s one of the cult products of the brand so you have people who like to play around with the design and so forth. This is something we created together in the last six months. It was quick, decisive. “But now it is in the product plan. And it will come earlier [than 2025].”
It takes in strong influence from the design of the original 5, with a highly similar silhouette yet modernised details including the headlights, the bootlid and the shape of the taillight signatures. It’s the work of newly acquired designer Gilles Vidal, headhunted from PSA and the man behind the similarly retro Peugeot E-Legend concept.
“The design of the Renault 5 Prototype is based on the R5, a cult model of our heritage. This prototype simply embodies modernity, a vehicle relevant to its time: urban, electric, attractive,” said Vidal, pointing to the prototype’s similar lines and flush surfacing.
Some styling elements from the original have been repurposed for modern usages. For instance, the bonnet air intake hides the charging hatch, and the fog lights in the lower front bumper are actually daytime running lights.
The new Renault 5 will be a five-door electric supermini, with the rear doors neatly integrated into the design and hidden door handles in the C-pillar. Huge flared wheel arches are a nod to the more extreme Turbo I and II variants of the original Renault 5, homologated for world rallying.
No interior shots have been revealed, but the cabin appears to be a minimalist environment, with only a transparent digital instrument panel visible on top of the dashboard.
CEO De Meo has confirmed that the production version of the Renault 5 prototype will use the same fully electric version of the CMF-B platform currently underpinning the Renault Zoe, though exact specifications have not been finalised. The Zoe makes use of a 50kWh battery pack enabling a maximum range of 245 miles, while recharging speed is capped at 50kW, and buyers have a choice of two electric motor options – one car with a 132bhp motor and one with 108bhp.
The current-generation Zoe is due to go out of production in 2024, when manufacturing at the firm’s Flins factory north west of Paris will cease. As such, it’s likely that the 5 will be lined up as the Zoe’s replacement.
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