Several iconic classic cars will be revived this decade as the auto industry flips the switch to electric vehicles. In addition to the Hyundai Pony, VW Bulli/Bus (and possibly VW Beetle and VW Thing/181), and Renault 5, the Renault 4 is making a comeback as an EV.
Nearly a decade ago, designer David Obendorfer did renderings of a modern-day Renault 4 concept that faithfully revived the charm of the classic model. The Renault 4 was introduced to serve as a multipurpose car that suited usage in the town and the countryside equally during the 1960s. Obendorfer designed it without a grille not foreseeing an electric powertrain but trusting that the four slim vents above the number plate would provide the necessary engine cooling. Coincidentally, the grille-less design serves the purpose right ten years on. The overall design is more retro than modern, something you don’t get on neo-retro cars, but classic Renault 4 fans would truly appreciate it.
On the comeback of the Renault 4
As part of its new EV-centred “Renaulution” strategic plan, Groupe Renault announced the revival of the Renault 5 small car last month. According to a report from Autocar UK, this strategic plan will lead to the Renault 4 nameplate coming back to the market.
The Renault 4, the “Blue-jean car” produced between 1961 and 1992, will be reborn as a small electric crossover this decade. The next-gen Renault 4 and the next-gen Renault 5 would be a two-pronged approach to create a dominant position in the B-segment in the electric car market. The all-new Renault 5 would be a hatchback-like model, while the all-new Renault 4 would be a rugged model with crossover genes. The looks of both vehicles would be sufficiently differentiated to avoid any significant cannibalisation.
The idea behind the Renault 4 was a sturdy car that could be driven anywhere and as hard as a denim weave. Groupe Renault should set similar parameters for the all-new Renault 4 with those same characteristics reflected with robust looks. It won’t need to make much effort on covering the maintenance aspect, as the electric powertrain would ensure that the vehicle is easy and cheap to run.
Renault 4 to ride on the CMF-B EV platform, likely to use LFP battery
Unlike the all-new Renault 5 but just like its predecessor, the Renault 4 may have a commercial application as well, unlocking a different avenue for sales.
Underpinning the 21st century-Renault 4 will be the same platform as the newly designed Renault 5 – CMF-B EV and under the differentiated exterior, expect to find plenty of shared components. The 5 is scheduled to arrive in 2023, while the 4 will enter showrooms in 2025. The launch of neither would lead to the discontinuation of the Renault Zoe as Groupe Renault’s design chief Laurens van den Acker has confirmed that the brand’s best-selling EV still has a future.
In an interaction with Automotive News, Luca De Meo, the new CEO of Renault has said that the Renault 5 could use batteries with low-cost lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cathodes. LFP batteries have a lower energy density than batteries with the nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) cathodes, but it would make the car competitive in the aspect of cost, enabling Renault to profitably sell electric vehicles in the jet stream of the market between 20,000 and 30,000 Euros. Expect LFP technology to power the Renault 4 crossover and its price at the same level as a petrol-engined vehicle in the segment.
Featured Image Source: Groupe Renault