Renault 5 EV prototype: powered by electricity and nostalgia, due 2023

Published: 14 January 2021

► Part of the new 'Renaulution' plan
► Classic looks, modern powertrain
► A retro rival to the Honda E? 

Today Renault revealed 'Renaulution' an ambitious new turnaround plan to prepare La Regie for the electric age, but sitting front and centre is this – a stunning Renault 5 EV prototype.

Alongside new plans to make Alpine an EV-only brand and twin Dacia and Lada into a single business unit, Renault also unveiled this retromodern electric concept you see here – and it’s an arresting blend of the old and new. And like the Honda E, it's actually going to be made: Renault's new classic is destined to join the range as a B-segment hatch in 2023.

Like their counterparts at Honda, Renault’s designers have raided their own back catalogue to create an EV to win over people's hearts and minds.

Former PSA design grandee Gilles Vidal has jumped ship to Renault and his design team took a chunk of inspiration from the classic Renault 5 hatch, but haven’t simply replicated it. As Honda did with the E, and Fiat with the 500e, the new 5 concept has also been modernised and electrified. 

‘The design of the Renault 5 Prototype is based on the R5, a cult model of our heritage,’ said Vidal, Renault’s new design director. ‘This prototype simply embodies modernity, a vehicle relevant to its time: urban, electric, attractive.’

Like the original, the new protoype is an angular city car – and features selective yellow headlights for a very French retro flourish – but this time round it’s an EV.

The original’s bonnet intake is retained in the prototype, but here it hides a charging hatch. Elsewhere, the original’s foglights are carried over, but they’re now daytime running lights.

And like almost all electric cars we’ve seen right now, the badges light up. 

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's online editor and racing-sim enthusiast