Update: ‘Design,’ ‘Interior,’ and ‘Features’ sections added and ‘Price & release date’ section updated.
Several automotive icons return this decade as the auto industry flips the switch to electric vehicles. The Ford Bronco, Renault 5, Hyundai Pony, MG B (Cyberster), MINI Traveller, VW Bulli/Bus, (and possibly VW Beetle and VW Thing/181) are some examples.
As part of its new EV-centred “Renaulution” strategic plan, Renault Group announced the Renault 5 small car revival, confirming that it would launch in early 2024. Soon after the launch, the Renault 4 nameplate would make a comeback to the market.
The original Renault 4L sold over 8 million units during its 33-year-long production run, becoming the fourth most-produced car in the world! At the 2022 Paris Motor Show, the French automaker announced that the 4EVER Trophy concept will pave the way for a pure electric Renault 4 SUV.
Renault 4 is a myth. And myths never die! R4 is a car that everyone can love, and today we want to rediscover this universal dimension through a modern and electric reinterpretation.Luca de Meo, Chief Executive Officer of Renault S.A. (Renault Group Conference held on October 17, 2022)
The next-gen 4 and 5 is Renault’s two-pronged approach to create a dominant position in the B-segment electric car market. The all-new Renault 5 would be a hatchback-like model, while the all-new 4 would be a rugged derivate with crossover genes for a wide appeal. Renault would sufficiently differentiate the looks and shape to avoid significant cannibalization.
In 2021 patent pictures of a new small Renault EV surfaced on the web, likely of the upcoming design concept of the Renault 4 EV. The rendering (second picture in the image gallery below) includes the design elements we saw in the leaked patent images. However, it still might not be the final unofficial preview. According to a report from L’Automobile, Renault Group hasn’t frozen the design yet. Gilles Vidal, Renault Design Director, Groupe Renault, could lock the design after receiving feedback for the concept version.
During the Renault Group Conference held at the 2022 Paris Motor Show (YouTube link), Renault Group’s Vice President of Design Gilles Vidal told the media that the production version of the Renault 4 Electric will share several design similarities with the 4EVER Trophy concept. He said that much of the upper body design of the concept will be carried forward and implemented on the production-ready Renault 4 EV, save for the roof-mounted spare tire.
We expect the Renault 4 Electric to feature short overhangs, protruding wheel arches, and an upright stance with a strong beltline for that urbane but adventurous appeal. Like in our rendering, the relatively-flat front fascia of the production model will get a more subtly-styled bumper for a cleaner look, while modern Matrix LED headlights and signature LED DRLs will add a contemporary touch to the front end. Renault is also likely to incorporate black body cladding, vertically-oriented “pill-shaped” LED taillights, and a sporty-looking roof spoiler.
The 4 EV should come with a high ground clearance and bold alloy wheels (in sizes up to 19 inches) to further highlight its SUV demeanor. Expect the production version to be even more aerodynamically-efficient than its concept prototype and perhaps smaller in overall dimensions. The electric SUV may not feature the concept’s deeply-integrated air channel in the hood and digital wing mirrors. An exterior color similar to concept’s Gun Metal Silver is likely to be offered, though.
When asked about the revival of the iconic Renault 4 nameplate, this is what the French brand’s Renault Group Chief Design Officer Laurens van den Acker, had to say:
We have a chance to reinvent our icons like this with the energy transition. They’ve become relevant again. So many memories contribute to them. When cars all go EV, they risk becoming banal, but these cars (Renault 4 & 5) help answer that.Laurens van den Acker, Chief Design Officer, Renault Group (Autocar report on October 20, 2022)
The Renault 4 was renowned for its spacious interior, and the cabin of the Renault 4 Electric should be able to accommodate five occupants in even more comfort. Renault could equip the electric SUV with a similar two-spoke steering wheel and digital displays for the instrument cluster and infotainment system. We will keep updating this section as and when relevant details become known to us.
The Renault 4 Electric should have most of the common features of a modern B-SUV on sale today, such as automatic LED headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control, a wireless phone charger, wireless Android Auto & Apple CarPlay, remote connected car services, a panoramic sunroof, and power front seats. Expect a raft of driver assistance systems, including adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, and collision detection with automatic emergency braking, to name a few.
Speaking to the media during the Renault Group Conference at the 2022 Paris Motor Show, de Meo mentioned how Renault is planning to add a ‘human’ aspect to its future cars (including the 4 EV) by integrating an intelligent cloud-based AI voice assistant called ‘Reno’ that has self-learning capability and responds to a “Hey, Reno” prompt. Drivers will be able to talk to Reno, ask for personalized suggestions, get directions to charging stations en route, and even know the battery status.
In a bid to increase passenger safety, Renault Group plans to impose a speed limiter in every future Renault and Dacia model. At the company’s 2021 annual general meeting, De Meo revealed that the company would cap the top speed to 180 km/h in the future. We doubt the Renault 4, which is built for economy and not performance, would be too concerned by the development. The company would have even otherwise electronically limited the top speed for efficiency and battery life.
The Renault 4 Electric will share the new CMF-BEV platform with the Renault 5 Electric. This platform is not only integral to the brand’s “Renaulution” strategic plan, but it also holds the following crucial advantages:
- 33% cost reduction compared to the current-gen Zoe
- Up to 400 km (249 miles) range in the WLTP cycle
- No-compromise design, acoustics, and driving behavior
- Modularity for extending the application to different vehicle sizes and body styles
The CMF-BEV platform leads to great roominess, weight reduction, thinner battery pack, and passive noise reduction by 50% compared to current-gen EVs. In addition, it offers a 33% cost reduction compared to the Zoe’s platform.
More than 60% of the non-electric components will be carried over from the CMF-B, benefitting from our massive track record with these platforms – 3 million cars a year by 2025.Luca de Meo, CEO, Renault Group (Alliance digital conference held on 27 January 2022)
The CMF-BEV platform “is made for our affordable compact vehicles with a super cost-competitive battery and a high level of carryover from other models,” de Meo said at the Renault eWays ElectroPop event. This platform “will integrate the company’s latest software, the electric route planner, and contextual adaptive cruise control for better efficiency,” Gilles Le Borgne, EVP Engineering, Renault Group, said at the event.
de Meo revealed new details about the CMF-BEV platform at the Alliance digital conference held on January 27, 2022. More than 60% of this platform’s non-electric components will be shared with the CMF-B platform that is used in B-segment Dacia and Renault models, such as the Sandero and Clio.
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)
At the Alliance digital conference, de Meo mentioned that the CMF-BEV modular platform will be used for cars that are between 3.90-4.20 meters (153.5-165.3 in.) in length. We estimate the Renault 4 Electric to be around 4.1 m (161.4 in.) long, 1.9 m wide, and 1.75 m (101.2 in.) tall. The electric small SUV could have a 2,570 mm (101.2 in.) wheelbase).
It is a platform that could underpin cars from 3 metre 90 (cm) to 4 metre 20 (cm), so relatively flexible.Luca de Meo, CEO, Renault Group (Alliance digital conference held on 27 January 2022)
|Length||4,100 mm (161.4 in.)|
|Width||1,900 mm (74.8 in.)|
|Height||1,750 mm (68.9 in.)|
|Wheelbase||2,570 mm (101.2 in.)|
|Wheel size||Up to 19 inches|
The Renault 4 Electric could feature in-house developed electrically excited synchronous motors, in which electrical energy (instead of magnets) excites the rotor. Announced at the eWays ElectroPop event, the new electric motors avoid rare-earth minerals. Renault may offer the electric small SUV in single-motor 2WD and twin-motor AWD variants.
The next generation of EESM motors, will gradually embed new techno-bricks from 2024, like stator hairpin, glued motor stack, brushless and hollow rotor shaft, still pushing for a better efficiency and a lower cost.Philippe Brunet, SVP Powertrain & EV Engineering, Renault Group
According to an Auto Express report published on December 8, 2022, the 4EVER Trophy concept is powered by a single electric motor that makes 138 horsepower. It’s located on the front axle and is paired with a 42 kWh battery pack, which most likely consists of lithium-ion NMC cells. The production model should pack more power, though.
Range & charging
At the eWays ElectroPop event, Renault said that it plans to equip its future EV models with batteries using NMC chemistry (Nickel, Manganese & Cobalt). So, it can be surmised that the Renault 4 Electric will also be fitted with the same type of battery technology. During the Alliance digital conference, de Meo revealed that EVs based on the CMF-BEV platform will have a gross energy capacity of just over 50 kWh. Therefore, at least one variant of the 4 EV should get a 50 kWh battery pack.
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.Luca de Meo, CEO, Renault Group (Alliance digital conference held on 27 January 2022)
Renault Group is working on a new charging solution, under a One Box Project. It will integrate the inverter, DC-DC, and the onboard charger (OBC) into this unique box, which it plans to manufacture in-house. The company will use this charging system across all platforms and powertrains to achieve high economies of scale. It plans to use a new generation of power modules with silicon carbide (SiC) for the inverter and Gallium Nitride (GaN) for DC-DC and OBC with the One Box Project.
Renault Group is developing an all-in-one system that integrates the electric motor, the reducer, and the power electronics (One Box Project) in a single package. The new powertrain will be 45% smaller in volume (equivalent to Clio’s fuel tank volume), 30% less costly, and 45% more efficient. These improvements will translate to a 20-km (12-mile) longer range in the WLTP cycle.
Renault has said its new B-segment electric models will have a maximum WLTP range of 400 km (249 miles) on a full charge. The company expects the 50 kWh battery pack to be charged to 80% SoC in just 10 minutes in the future. It’s unclear at this point whether the Renault 4 Electric’s battery pack will support such a charging rate.
Made in France
The Renault 4 will come back to showrooms as an authentic Made in France electric car. It will roll out of the Renault Douai factory in northern France, the same production facility responsible for the Renault 5 electric.
The batteries of the Renault 4 electric will also see local production. Renault Group has partnered with Envision AESC to develop a 9 GWh gigafactory in Douai. Envision AESC plans to open this French battery production facility in 2024 and increase its capacity to 24 GWh by 2030. Group Renault says that the batteries from this plant will go into its “affordable, European-made EV models.”
Envision AESC will provide us with an efficient, affordable solution for our CMF-BEV vehicles, starting with the Renault 5. This battery will be assembled in France with a carbon footprint reduction of up to 35% compared to the current ones which are equipping the Zoe.Luca de Meo, CEO, Renault Group (Renault eWays ElectroPop)
Price & release date
The Renault 4 Electric will hit the European markets in 2025. We estimate it will cost around EUR 25,000 (USD 27,231) and expect it to compete with the likes of the VW ID.2 X and their platform-mates from Skoda and Seat, Fiat 600, and Skoda.
With distinctive, eccentric designs, Renault Group is confident about strengthening its presence in Europe’s EV market with its upcoming EVs, especially the neo-retro models.
Democratization is the Renault touch to electrification. We bet on iconic design and aim at the top of the charts. Zoe, R5, and more models to come are designed to hit the core of the market. That’s where they can make, we believe, a true difference and have a positive impact.Luca de Meo, CEO, Renault Group (Renault eWays ElectroPop)
The idea behind the 4 was a sturdy car that could drive anywhere, one that is as hard as a denim weave. Renault Group should lock in similar parameters for the Renault 4 EV, reflected with simple and robust looks. It won’t need extra effort to cover the maintenance aspect, as the electric powertrain would ensure that it is easy and cheap to run, just like the classic.
Akin to its predecessor, the Renault 4 EV would have a commercial application, opening up new avenues for the sales team. Renault could target the basic version toward ride-sharing and logistics firms.
One of the commercial versions of the all-new Renault 4 will be a delivery van, called ‘Fourgonnette’ in the class Renault 4 line-up. Renault would position the new small electric van below the Kangoo E-Tech and market it as a model for last-mile goods delivery. A report from Auto-Moto has some details.
As visible in the teaser, the new Renault 4 Fourgonnette (Renault 4 Van) or Renault 4L Fourgonnette (Renault 4L Van) would have a boxy load compartment with melted edges starting at the B-pillar, putting function above form. This traditionally designed cargo compartment wouldn’t work in the favor of aerodynamics, thereby reducing the range, but most customers will drive it in urban conditions where the charging infrastructure is dense. One feature the new 4 Fourgonnette may carry over from its predecessor could be a hinged rear roof flap, called “giraffe roof” (“Girafon”).
10 EV launches from Renault Group by 2025
By 2025, Renault Group plans to launch ten new pure electric models, and seven of them will be Renault models, de Meo announced at the Renault eWays ElectroPop event. “These vehicles will follow always the same principle,” he said. “They have to be attractive, competitive, and contributive to the group’s profitability. By 2025, in percentage, the contribution margin of the new electric Renault models will be in line with their IC equivalents,” he added. The Alpine division is slated to become an electric-only performance brand.
Renault to go all-electric by 2030
On January 13, 2022, Automotive News Europe published a report capturing the highlights of the interaction of de Meo with a small group of reporters in Paris. de Meo said that Renault plans to go 100% electric in Europe by 2030. The CEO had said last July that it would be 90%, which is another sign that Euro automakers are ditching combustion models earlier than planned.
At Renault Group’s 2021 Financial Results conference, de Meo briefed how the company will “boldly” take the shift towards electromobility. He stated the order in which the company will leverage its EV platforms to achieve its electrification goals for this decade.
First, the CMF-EV will carry Megane E-Tech and then the future Scenic and the new Alpine GT crossover. The CMF-BEV will carry the Renault 5 that you’ve seen, but also the successor of the Renault 4. And on the CMF-A, we will bring – and this is a decision we made this year – the successor of the Dacia Spring. Our LCV line-up will progressively become electric as well. And finally, under the Mobilize brand, we’ll bring purpose design vehicles in the market to solve the profitability equation of mobility platform and to reduce the impact of transportation and last-mile delivery in the urban environment. We have started to prepare Renault for the shift to a 100% electric mix by 2030.Luca de Meo, CEO, Renault Group (2021 Financial Results conference on 18 February 2022)
Being a compact SUV primarily for the urban sprawl, the Renault 4 Electric will be suitable for younger buyers that want a well-styled and feature-laden EV at a relatively affordable price point. If Renault can bring it to market with a decent range and performance specifications, the all-new 4 should be a great choice for first-time EV customers who are on a tight budget.
Renault 4 EV FAQs
What is the Renault 4 Electric release date?
The all-new Renault 4 will arrive in 2025. It will also have a commercial variant.
What will be the Renault 4 Electric price?
The all-electric Renault 4 will likely cost around EUR 25,000 (USD 27,231) onwards.
Which EVs will be Renault 4 rivals?
The Renault 4 EV will compete with the Electric Fiat Panda and the VW ID.2 and its sister models from the Seat and Skoda brands.
Featured Image Source: Renault Group