The revived Renault 5 electric hatchback has made an appearance at this year’s Munich Motor Show in prototype form, alongside its original siblings from the 70s and 80s, with the French brand confirming it will give rise to a production car in 2024.
The revived retro icon will enter production in 2024 as the first vehicle based on the Renault–Nissan Alliance’s new CMF-BEV platform, which has been specifically designed for smaller electric vehicles.
Speaking to Auto Express at the Munich Motor Show, Renault’s executive vice president for engineering, Gilles Le Borgne, told us that “This will be a real affordable car. We need to be in the range between €20,000-€25,000 (around £17,200-£21,500), but still be profitable. That’s the challenge.”
It’s not clear if this relatively low cost price target includes any government incentives, but to put that into perspective, this starting figure is about the same sort of money you’d spend on a comparably sized, petrol-powered Ford Fiesta or Volkswagen Polo.
Renault says that its new CMF-BEV platform for small cars will give the eventual R5 production model a range of up to 400km (249 miles).
This range figure will be for the larger 52kWh battery pack, which will also likely come with a higher starting price. Le Borgne also confirmed that the entry-level model will be fitted with a 40kWh battery, which will offer a more moderate maximum range but will also be more affordable.
However, the exec also offered a little more insight into the Renault 5’s charging system. When quizzed whether it would feature the same 130kW rapid charge capability as the recently unveiled Megane E-Tech Electric, he said: “I would say it will be the same, close to that. It will be optional for the DC high-power charging, but what we do for R5 is Renault’s vision to make electric mobility affordable.”
Le Borgne is still playing some cards close to his chest though, as he followed up that statement by saying: “If we cannot make BEV mobility affordable, we will be in trouble. It’s the reason why I’m not giving all the values and figures for the 5, because the 5 will go on the market in mid-2024.” However, he remained confident that Renault will meet its low-cost price target.
The 5’s motor, meanwhile, will be a standardised 134bhp unit that will feature across all of Renault’s upcoming small EVs, as part of the brand’s drive to increase economies of scale, trim down production costs and pass the savings on to consumers.
When it arrives in three years time, the new Renault 5 will become a more affordable rival for the Honda e and MINI Electric. It’ll also be joined by an equally retro Renault 4 electric crossover, which draws inspiration from the iconic small family car of the same name built from the 1960s to the early 1990s.
New 2024 Renault 5: design
The new Renault 5 will draw heavy inspiration from its ancestors, sharing the same boxy silhouette and square front end. However, the firm’s designers have modernised features such as the headlamps, the bootlid and the tail-lights.
It’ll be a five-door electric supermini, with hidden door handles in the C-pillar and rear doors that are flush-fit with the quarter panels to give the illusion of a three-door body style. The flared wheel arches are also a nod to the more extreme Turbo I and II variants of the original Renault 5, which were homologated for world rallying – and hotter Alpine-badged version of the forthcoming R5 are in the product plan too.
Renault won’t fall into the same upsizing trap as most manufacturers (such as MINI and Volkswagen). At this year’s Munich Motor Show, Le Borgne told us: “This will be a small car at 3.92m. Today, most of the big cars – Clio included, Polo – are between 4m and 4.05m. We have decided to go to 3.9 to be agile and be fit for downtown in the city.”
The Renault 5 prototype is the work of designer Gilles Vidal, who Renault headhunted from PSA following his efforts with the similarly retro Peugeot E-Legend concept from 2019.
“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 Renault 5 have been repurposed to suit modern motoring. For instance, the bonnet air intake hides the charging hatch, and the fog lights in the lower front bumper are actually daytime running lights. These features could find their way onto the eventual production-ready model.
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.
What will the new Renault 5 mean for the Clio?
Earlier this year, Renault boss Luca De Meo explained the Renault 5’s positioning to Auto Express, saying: “The mission of that car goes beyond Renault. The mission of the project is to democratise electric technology in Europe – and you do that when you are able to do a competitive electric car in the range of €20,000 to €30,000, making money, obviously.
“It has to be a car that is in that range of price. We want to make it simple, accessible and essential. It needs to be an affordable product.”
But, by aiming the Renault 5 at the supermini segment, Renault has raised some questions about the future of the Clio. De Meo recognised the matter and hinted that it could soon become a car designed solely for markets where combustion engines are still allowed.
“I’m asking myself what to do with the next-generation Clio,” he said. “What kind of concept it needs to be? Where are the markets? What kind of customer?
“I think we still have time and technical options. But if you think about the European perimeter, it will be difficult to make a small car with combustion engines profitable. You have to hybridise them with a lot of technology.
“In the A segment it’s already happening where the only possibility to compete and to be profitable is having an electric version. That’s why we have the Twingo and the Dacia Spring. And when the water goes up, the next one will be the B segment. Maybe there will be other markets where cars like a combustion-engined B-segment car will be successful, but not in Europe.”