French Icon Renault 5 Reborn as Oh-So Lovable EV

The Geneva Motor Show returned for the first time since 2019 this week, but there’s not much to talk about since the event has essentially become an all-European affair with much fewer car companies attending than in the past. One model debut that we want to highlight here is the Renault 5 E-Tech electric, a modern, zero-emission interpretation of the French icon.

The car was developed with the help of Ampere, the Renault Group division specializing in electric vehicles and software. It will be manufactured completely in France starting in the summer of 2025, with orders beginning this September at a base price of around 25,000 euros.

Photo: Renault

"The R5's DNA is unique. It's a joyful vehicle that attracts sympathy. It's a vehicle that is both popular and avant-garde, providing new solutions for the times it's living in. That was the case in 1972. It will still be the case in 2024,” Renault CEO Fabrice Cambolive said. “The Renault 5 E-Tech electric is a design masterstroke, a new brain with cutting-edge technologies and electric legs based on a new-generation platform that is unique in Europe.”

The Renault 5 E-Tech electric is the first vehicle to be designed entirely on AmpR Small, the new Ampere platform dedicated to B-segment electric vehicles. It has a 2.54-metre-long wheelbase (nearly matching the Kia Soul), a 326-litre trunk (larger than that of a MINI 5 Door) and a weight of less than 1,500 kg.

Photo: Renault

The motor is more compact than the motors on Megane E-Tech electric and Scenic E-Tech electric. As it has no permanent magnets, it uses no rare earths, thereby reducing its environmental impact. There will be three power ratings available: 70 kW, 90 kW or 110 kW (94 hp, 121 hp or 147 hp).

The battery has a capacity of 52 kWh, giving the Renault 5 E-Tech electric a range of up to 400 km according to the WLTP standard (more like 300+ km if it were sold in Canada). A rarity in the electric city car segment, it can even tow a trailer, with a towing capacity of 500 kg (1,100 lbs). DC fast charging is possible up to 100 kW, while a new AC bidirectional charger is compatible with V2L (vehicle-to-load) and V2G (vehicle-to-grid) technologies.

Photo: Renault

As far as styling is concerned, Renault designers aimed to create a new object of desire, not only for those who remember the original Renault 5, but also for younger generations that have different expectations. Adopting a ‘retrofuturistic’ style, the new model features a rectangular lighting signature up front and vertical taillights in the rear, which we find to be a lovely touch.

The vent grille on the hood of the original car has been reinvented to keep up with the times. It’s now a charge indicator in the form of the iconic number 5. Not only that, but it lights up when the driver approaches the vehicle. The number 5 also appears on the contrasting roof panel (likely as an option).

Photo: Renault

Inside, the graphic and sound design of the welcome sequence was developed in collaboration with French composer Jean-Michel Jarre. The 10.1-inch multimedia touchscreen with a bright, flowing interface obviously catches the attention, too, but one little detail that we just love is the steering column-mounted gear selector with a start-stop button and configurable display. The latter can show, for instance, a French flag or the silhouette of the original Renault 5 with the year 1972 next to it. Pretty cool.

Photo: Renault

The Renault 5 E-Tech electric will go head-to-head with other city-oriented EVs sold in Europe. One of them is the new Fiat 500e that also recently became available to order in Canada.

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