It’s not quite what we were expecting from the Geneva Motor Show this year! Yes we heard many major brands wouldn’t be present but with just two halls, let’s just say it didn’t trouble the ‘step counter’ in the way it has done in years of past. With that said, thankfully Renault still believe in the event and in the absence of other brands, they decided it to be a fitting opportunity to launch the all new Renault 5 E-Tech electric. This is a car we were teased with pictures of back in 2021 and even though it was always going to be fully electric, the heads of Renault purists nodded with a look of appreciation for this exciting proposition! Why more brands don’t lean on design trends from their heritage we are not sure but this modern day take on a retro car, looks nothing short of superb! Some of our readers might indeed remember when the Renault 5 was launched back in 1972. Its proportions seamed perfect with plastic bumpers, brightly coloured bodywork and headlights that gave it character. 

It was an immediate hit with not just French purchasers but for some five and half million buyers around the world. Such was the success of the first and indeed the second generation, which would come in 1984, the designers had to adopt a ‘retrofuturistic’ style to pay homage to previous generations. By using vibrant colours, stylish headlamps, vertical rear lights, sculpted wings and a battery charge level indicator masked as a bonnet vent, it gives the car a tasteful nod to past iterations. In a way it reminds us of what Volkswagen successfully carried out with the Beatle and likewise BMW with restyling the Mini but heavily inspired by the past. So at this point many of you are thinking, is this not just a re-bodied electric Megane? Well no, not exactly. 

The Renault 5 E-Tech electric is the first vehicle to be designed entirely on what’s called AmpR Small. This new Ampere platform for B-segment electric vehicles has a flat floor, decent wheelbase of 2.54m and generous interior space with a boot capacity of 326 litres. Lifting up the bonnet reveals an electric motor that is visually more compact than the motors on Megane E-Tech or new Scenic E-Tech. It will be available with three power ratings: 95hp, 120hp and 150hp with two lithium-ion batteries. The biggest available from market launch has a capacity of 52 kWh and a range of up to 400km. The second has a capacity of 40 kWh for a range of up to 300km. Both use NMC (Nickel Manganese Cobalt) technology, for the best energy density on the market today.

These battery modules are designed to improve energy density without increasing size. The 52 kWh battery includes four large modules in its casing, compared with the 12 smaller modules found on Megane E-Tech electric and Zoe. This makes the 5 E-Tech 20kg lighter than a Zoe. The 40 kWh battery has just three large modules in the same casing meaning no more space was needed. Another cool feature is the introduction of AC bidirectional charging compatible with V2L (vehicle-to-load) and V2G (vehicle-to-grid) technologies. This is a system we are going to be hearing a lot more about! In essence you can feed carbon-free electricity back into the grid when the power is not needed. Think of it like a mobile power source that you could use whilst camping, or in the event of a power cut at home etc. 

Inside the seats look rather inviting with decent bolstering and fabrics made from fully recycled materials on most trim levels. Sitting in you are greeted by a modern dash that somehow still pays tribute to the old Renault 5 with a rectangular screen backed up by a 10.1-inch multimedia touchscreen. A new arrival for this Renault is the little ‘Reno Avatar’ powered by Chat GBT to assist you when behind the wheel. It also has the latest generation OpenR Link system with Google built-in, not to mention over 50 apps with practical services such as integrating electric recharging in your planned journey.

Let’s touch on safety for Renaults new little 5. ADAS has been borrowed from the Megane E-Tech which, brings intelligent adaptive cruise control, Active Driver Assist, Level 2 automated driving tech and a new dynamic braking system that halves the reaction time for automatic braking. This package along with the usual array of cabin airbags are ready to protect you and your occupants when the Renault 5 E-Tech arrives later this year. It will be available from launch in five body colours, two of which are absolutely iconic: Pop Yellow and Pop Green. Prices look set to kick off around the €25,000 mark and we will look forward to bringing you a first drive report in due course. For now let’s just celebrate the fact that we have a Renault coming back into Ireland full of character and charm. If this doesn’t tempt a new audience into electric mobility, then we are not sure what will! Let’s have a final quote from the man who brought this project to fruition.

A final quote from Luca de Meo, CEO Renault Group

“Renault 5 E-Tech electric is a car unlike any other. Its release coincides with a major shift by millions of Europeans towards a new mobility which is electric, connected, and sustainable. It also triggered the transformation of Renault Group into a next-generation automotive company. To develop this car in just three years in France, to the highest technological standard, all our decisions had to be disruptive, and our organisation as agile as possible. We were the first ones to make a bet on a 100% electric platform for a small European car, to optimise costs across the value chain, to relocate our industrial ecosystem… Only an iconic car could bring our teams together in this way and move the needle internally. In the face of significant change in our industry, this car paves a new way for Renault. It’s at the heart of the battle to reinvent European industry against competition coming from the east and the west. With this vehicle we’re proving that production in Europe, in France really is possible!”