Production-spec Renault 5 EV spotted in app promo | CAR Magazine

Production-spec Renault 5 EV spotted in app promo

Published: 15 November 2023 Updated: 15 November 2023

► Renault 5 EV coming 2024
► Key spec details revealed
► Designers and engineers speak

Renault has confirmed that the new 5 EV will launch at the 2024 Geneva Motor Show at the end of February 2024. On top of that, a production-spec image of the small EV has been spotted during the Ampere Capital Markets Day presentation on Wednesday 15 November.

The image of the production-version of the 5 EV is seen in a demonstration of a companion app for the car (pictured below), and indeed, other Renault models. It can be said that the production version, then, will change very little compared to the concept car that was first revealed in 2021. Unlike the entirely square DRLs of the concept, for example, the DRLs of the car pictured on the app screen are cut into four quarters. The removal of the glowing ‘R E N A U L T’ signature on the front of the concept is apparent, too.

Luca De Meo, Renault Group CEO, confirmed the launch of the new EV at the press conference for the Capital Markets Day, as well as announcing the return of the Twingo city car as a future EV.

Read on for the full story of the 5 EV prototype, with exclusive studio imagery by John Wycherley.

Renault 5 EV prototype: exterior design details

‘What’s cute about the 5 is that it oozes character, it has a soul,’ says Laurens van den Acker, Renault Group’s design director. ‘It embraces a time when cars had real character. It’s modern even though it’s inspired by the past.’

The original 5 arrived in 1972, a 3.5m-long hatchback with four-cylinder engines mounted longitudinally and driving the front wheels, a mechanical package shared with the Renault 4 (which is also being revived as a small electric SUV). The basic silhouette, clean surfaces and key graphics are being revived – but with a twist.

For example, the original 5’s square headlamp shape is retained but as the Daytime Running Lights in the lower bumper (see below). The actual new headlamps are stretched and more trapezoidal to reflect the bigger girth of the new model, with a modern twist coming from a row of boomerang-shaped LEDs.


Secrets of the R5’s proportions

The chunky proportions look spot on, thanks to a harmonious wheel-diameter-to-height-ratio and a great balance between width and height claims Renault design director Gilles Vidal. ‘And we enhance those proportions with the shoulders and the sculpted wheelarches, especially the rear ones inspired by the 5 Turbo’s.’ The wheels – pushed out to each corner for minimal overhangs – measure 19 inches in diameter. 

‘The idea is to put into production exactly what you saw [with the concept] or even better, if we can,’ asserts the design chief. Keeping the roof low is a challenge for electric cars with a battery slab in the floor, and Vidal concedes the production 5 will be a little taller and narrower (the prototype is a little longer than a three-door Mini). ‘But our ratios are better than the competition’s,’ he claims.

Former Peugeot design grandee Vidal joined Renault in late 2020, with the new 5 project well underway. Renault’s design team had pitched a revived 5 before, but had been turned down by company leaders.

New boss approves long-held 5 revival plan

Then in July 2020 Luca de Meo, the former Fiat brand chief who led the 500’s revival and ran SEAT, became Renault Group CEO. He saw the model in the design studio – and six months later he unveiled the 5 Prototype as part of his Renaulution plan, saying that reviving a cult car from the past ‘can light a fire under a brand’. 

He’s not wrong. Retro EVs have scored both media attention and commercial success: think Honda E and Fiat 500e, which will spawn a hotter Abarth version in 2023.

The production 5 will also retain the wraparound rear lamps with their stacked, glowing red LED strips (below), and the conjoined aerodynamic vertical blade to help reduce drag. Unsurprisingly the fabric roof, with its ‘70s vinyl roof vibe, is a purely concept car touch – Renault is exploring ways to deliver two-tone colour schemes that eschew paint.

Renault targets a £20-25,000 price

The 5’s job is to replace the Twingo city car and electric Zoe supermini, targeting a starting price from €20-€25,000. ‘That would cut the Zoe’s price by one-third, without incentives. That is a very good price,’ says VP of engineering Gilles Le Borgne. 

The CMF-B EV platform, to be used by the 5, 4 electric SUV and Nissan’s electric Micra replacement, is a critical ingredient. Non-EV components – such as the axles and heating and ventilation – are also shared with Renault, Nissan and Dacia’s small petrol cars. A volume of 3 million units a year provide big economies of scale.

Renault 5 battery, motor and range details

EVs on the platform get a bespoke underbody to house the nickel-manganese-cobalt batteries. Expect 40 and 52kWh packs, with the latter good for around 250 miles of range. 

‘With the 5, we want a very agile, urban car,’ says Le Borgne. ‘It’s 3.92m long. To achieve that you need to limit the wheelbase of the car.’ And that means energy dense batteries, else the underbody – and costs – will grow to stow more cells.

The engineers will deploy a 100kW (136bhp) electric motor to turn the front axle. It’s a Renault-designed, electrically excited synchronous motor which doesn’t use any rare earths, with copper coils for the rotor replacing magnets and thereby lowering the environmental impact. The coils help Renault control the current in the spinning rotor to conserve energy; it’s particularly efficient at high speeds. 

The production 5 will be assembled at Renault’s ElectriCity campus, which unites three facilities in northern France to become a hub of EV components, cars and vans. The new 5 EV will be one of 10 battery-electric vehicles to go on sale by 2025, with other models including the 4 baby SUV (below), new Scenic and Kangoo zero emissions van and passenger car variant.