Update: ‘Driving impressions of the test prototype’ section added
The Renault 5 nameplate is familiar in Europe, especially in France. Renault made 8.5 million units of the tiny hatchback between 1972 and 1996. Nearly three decades later, the company will resurrect the iconic nameplate, albeit with an electric twist.
A Renault 5 electric concept car was revealed in January 2021 as part of Renault’s ‘Renaulution’ plan, which aims to position the company as an industry leader in electrification by 2025. Its production version will debut in 2024.
By mid-decade, Renault has planned to launch 14 new vehicles, of which seven will be purely electric, and the rest will have either electric or hybrid versions in the C or D segments. Renault calls this roadmap its “Nouvelle Vague” strategy, aiming to turn the firm into a digital, service, and renewable energy brand. More information on the Renault 5 was revealed during the Renault eWays ElectroPop event on June 30, 2021, and here’s what we know about it so far:
Renault 5 Electric Design
Renault has said the concept car is an accurate preview of what is coming to dealers in 2024. The Renault 5 concept’s design harks back to the original R5 model from the early 1970s but with a sophisticated blend of modern and traditional design elements. The location of the charging door on the bonnet, illuminated front and rear logos, aero flaps integrated into tail lamps, and fog lamps in the front bumper that double as daytime running lights are all eye-catching design elements of the Renault 5 Prototype.
The Renault 5 appears to be proudly French. The French flag is embossed on the rearview mirrors, while other exciting details include the symbol ‘5’ marked at various places on the car, such as the rear logo, wheels, and side grid. Overall dimensions are of a funky little city car with short overhangs and a relatively long wheelbase. Expect the electric car to be agile and easy to maneuver through tight city spaces.
Battery development and supply partners
Renault has signed agreements with two partners — LG Chem and Envision EASC — to boost electric vehicle production, according to Luca De Meo, CEO of Renault Group. Renault will receive practical and affordable solutions from Envision EASC for CMF-BEV vehicles. The journey will begin with the Renault 5. Manufacturing of these batteries will take place in France. The carbon footprint of these new batteries is expected to be 35% lower than the batteries used in the Renault Zoe and Kangoo.
According to Sophie Schmidtin, Vice President, Renault Group Research and Advanced Engineering, the company is working on two types of NMC (Nickel Manganese Cobalt) battery options: the first one for the low-cost “Affordable” category for A and B segment cars, and the other for the “Performance-Oriented” category for C and sporty segments. The Renault 5 will employ the former, and the business has ruled out the LFP (Lithium Ion Phosphate) chemistry, which the Volkswagen Group is considering for its electric minicar project.
Both the LFP and NMC battery chemistries have their advantages and disadvantages. LFP has a longer lifespan and can endure more charging cycles, while the NMC batteries have better energy density. One downside of NMC battery chemistry is cobalt, which can be a highly toxic material if not disposed of properly and is often associated with unethical extraction practices, according to Wired.
Renault Zoe to be replaced by the Renault 5
The Renault Zoe is expected to be retired by 2024 to make place for the Renault 5 electric. Citing de Meo, an InsideEVs (through Matthias Schmidt) report dated August 2021 said that the Zoe will be phased out. The Renault 5, when it arrives in showrooms, would be a far superior electric vehicle compared to the Zoe, thanks to faster charging times, more range, and a more modern interior and exterior design. Since its launch in 2012, the Zoe has been updated multiple times, including a significant lifecycle update in 2019.
Renault has sold over 300,000 Zoes, the majority of which were in Europe, according to InsideEVs data.
Group Renault has mastered cost optimization techniques with its platforms. Instead of pouring billions into developing 100% new electric vehicle platforms, the brand uses a mix and match method for its existing resources. The Renault 5 will be based on the CMF-BEV platform, a modified version of the CMF-B platform designed for automobiles with a length of 3.90-4.20 meters. It would be more profitable in the long run because 60% of the non-electric components (carried over from CMF-B) will be the same.
Laurence Excoffon, Renault Group Alliance Platforms Leader, previously discussed the advantages of the CMF-BEV platform. The CMF-BEV platform will place a premium on features like acoustics, driving behavior, and charging.
Range & Battery specifications
Schmidtin went on to say that the Renault 5 would be equipped with enhanced battery solutions based on high-voltage cells, allowing it to reach a range of 249 miles (WLTP). The cost of manufacturing this battery will be less than USD 85 per kWh. CMF-BEV cars will have good aerodynamic performance, resulting in a 10% reduction in energy usage over the Zoe, according to de Meo, who spoke at the Alliance digital conference on January 27, 2022. He also stated that CMF-BEV vehicles would have a battery pack with 50 kWh or more capacity.
We will have a battery pack that will allow at launch – that means 2024 – up to 400 km of range with the battery of a little bit more than 50 kilowatt (hour). It will also integrate an evolved electronic architecture and infotainment system. So, you have seen the Renault 5 concept. So, I think you can understand more or less what we are talking about. We have taken a very smart approach to reuse some of the components not related to the BEV, let’s say the package, from the CMF-B, so that means the ICE version, the Clio’s, the Micra’s, today’s Micra.Luca de Meo, CEO, Renault Group (Alliance digital conference held on 27 January 2022)
From 2024, Renault will seek to improve the battery pack’s performance. The driving range of electric vehicles will be extended under this proposal with a new generation of algorithms and software. The new battery will also be completely ASIL-D certified, with integrated cooling and wireless BMS for maximum safety. Renault will also be able to optimize costs on batteries by using fewer parts.
According to de Meo, current development permits the battery to have a range of 249 miles, which is sufficient for intra-city mobility. The battery can be charged up to 80%, enough to cover a distance of 186 miles, in half an hour. On the other hand, Renault is trying to reduce this time to just 10 minutes for future models.
Renault was rumored to be using LFP cells in the batteries of the 5, but this turned out to be untrue. The company intends to keep employing Lithium-Ion batteries in its electric vehicles. Solid-state batteries are not an option for this budget model, or any other Renault EV for that matter, at this time. According to an Autocar story, de Meo said during the Megane E-Tech Electric media drive, “I hope lithium-ion technology will continue for a long time.” He told the British publication that heavy investment was made in lithium-ion battery technology.
Electric Motor Performance
According to Philippe Brunet, senior vice president, powertrain and EV engineering, Renault Group, the next-generation electrically excited synchronous motor (EESM) would make its way into the Renault 5 and feature the new technology. These would include stator hairpins, glued motor stacks, brushless motors, and hollow rotor shafts, which will improve efficiency and reduce manufacturing costs.
Release Date & Price
De Meo has said that seven of the Renault Group’s ten new battery electric vehicles would be Renaults, one of which will be the production Renault 5. By 2025, the percentage of new electric Renault vehicles will be comparable to its ICE counterparts.
Renault claims that the Renault 5 will be 33% less expensive to produce than the Zoe. The starting price is expected at around GBP 20,000 (in the UK). The Renault 5 will go on sale in early 2024 worldwide, competing with cars like the VW ID.2, Nissan Micra Electric equivalent, and the Cupra UrbanRebel.
No Renault 5 for the U.S.
Renault doesn’t have operations in the United States. The brand pulled the plug on the American car market in the 1990s and hasn’t returned since. However, Renault Group brand Nissan has a strong presence stateside. The Nissan Leaf is sold in the U.S., while reservations for the all-new Nissan Ariya are also open stateside.
According to a press statement issued by Renault on June 9, 2021, the Renault ElectriCity E-Mobility Cluster has been established, which includes the plants in Douai, Maubeuge, and Ruitz, all of which are located in northern France. The Renault 5’s production will be assigned to the Douai factory. Envision AESC, situated near the Renault 5 manufacturing facility, will produce the battery for the Renault 5.
Driving impressions of the test prototype
Even though the official launch is almost a year away, Auto Express had a brief stint in the Renault 5 EV prototype, in what appears like a testing ground in northern Europe. Its short wheelbase, wide track, advanced multi-link rear suspension, plus quick yet responsive steering meant that the electric hatchback’s handling was sharp and an overall engaging drive, the British magazine noted in its drive report dated March 1, 2023.
According to Auto Express, the independent rear suspension’s tuning was dialed so well that the EV felt stable even under hard braking – that too on ice-covered terrain – the latter further helped by the brake-by-wire system developed by Continental. The Renault 5 prototype also exhibited impressive high-speed stability while maintaining its fun quotient when driven through twisty stretches, the British publication noted. If Renault retains these fundamentally-important factors in the production model, we are looking at a fun yet safe EV that will be apt for the urban environment.
Renault will also release the Alpine R5, a performance-oriented variant. The Alpine R5 will have a single front-mounted motor, Gilles Le Borgne, executive vice-president for engineering at Renault, told Auto Express. The Alpine R5 will have 215 hp and should be able to sprint from 0 to 62 mph (0-100 km/h) in roughly 6 seconds.
The CMF-BEV platform will also be used in the 2024 Alpine R5. The chassis will have MacPherson struts in the front and a multi-link system in the back. It will be able to carry a larger 52 kWh battery with a range of over 200 miles (320 kilometers) without sacrificing performance.
Renault to go all-electric by 2030
According to a report published on 13 January 2022 by Automotive News Europe, de Meo told French reporters that Renault will be 100% electric in Europe by 2030. Renault Group will have at least ten new EVs by 2025 as part of Meo’s Renaulution Strategy, increasing its EV portfolio and redefining Alpine as an electric-only performance brand.
Renault 5 Electric FAQs
What is the Electric Renault 5 release date?
Expect the Renault 5 at dealers in Europe in the first half of 2024.
What is the expected Renault 5 EV price?
Expect the starting price at around GBP 21,000 (UK).
Which are the future competitors of the Renault 5 Electric?
VW ID.2, Nissan Micra Electric and the Cupra Urban Rebel.
Featured Image: Renault