Australians could be forgiven for thinking that Renault do little in the EV space. With a failed attempt at selling the Zoe hatchback in Australia between 2017 and 2020, the continued sale of the (superseded elsewhere) Kangoo electric van and the still to arrive e-tech Megane, its Australian efforts to date have been pretty minimal.
On the other hand, Renault Australia have previously stated they don’t do much in the EV space here as government policy has not been supportive of EVs. Hopefully that may soon change – provided, that is, the Australian government introduces a proper Fuel Efficiency Standard alongside fuel quality requirements that match those in the majority of the developed world.
In Europe, things are very different. There, Renault is a major auto manufacturing player and are working harder than many to make the switch from internal combustion to electric.
In fact, by 2030 they plan to sell only full electric vehicles in Europe, with plans to launch seven new electric models between now and 2030. Many of these by the way are in the currently neglected small and compact passenger EV segments.
As part of that push, Renault will soon relaunch the Renault 5 nameplate as an all-electric model.
For those unfamiliar with the history of Renault – the original Renault 5 (affectionately known as the R5) still holds the record of France’s most popular selling car, with over 5.5 million units built during its production run between 1972 and 1996.
It is therefore no surprise that Renault is hoping a lot of that affection for the original carries over into the new.
It is probably also no surprise that the rebooted R5 derives many of its styling cues from that original design.
Several pre-production prototypes have been shown as the model progresses towards its launch – however Renault is now starting to tease the production design ahead of the official unveiling – slated for February 26 next year at the Geneva International Motor Show.
It is worth noting here that whilst the production version will be unveiled at that time, deliveries won’t begin until early 2025. To maintain the hype between now and then, Renault are promoting a ‘R5 R Pass programme’ in their launch markets. (These being France, Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, Belgium and the Netherlands).
The interesting aspect of this announcement is the inclusion of the UK – meaning the R5 will be built in right-hand drive from the outset.
At a cost of £150 (AU$290), R5 R Pass holders will be able to order the new R5 10 days before orders open to the general public. In addition “Holders of an R5 R Pass will receive a scale model of Renault 5 E- Tech electric after its reveal and will be the first to access content and events around Renault 5”.
Looking past the marketing spin for a moment though – it does seem that Renault are doing a lot of work to dance around the fact that it will be over 12 months will pass between now and when the model actually reaches the first customer’s hands!
When it comes to EVs, it seems it is not only Australians that have to hold their collective breathes for extended periods between new EV announcements and arrivals….
Looking ahead to when it does arrive, what will the buying public get? At 3.92 metres long with a 52kWh battery providing a 400km (WLTP) range, it should nicely meet the needs of a suburban couple needing a run-around hatchback with capacity to do the odd regional/weekend away run. It will also be the first Renault EV to offer V2L and V2G functionality.
In Europe, the R5 is likely to be a very popular seller. As for Australia: Renault Australia have said they will consider it if made in right-hand drive – which has now been confirmed with the recent UK announcement of the R5 R Pass programme.
More details and (hopefully) pricing of the R5 to be released on February 26, 2024 at the Geneva International Motor Show.
Thus far, Renault CEO Luca de Meo has been quoted as suggesting pricing for the R5 in Europe will start at around €25,000 (AU$41,000) where incentives for EVs are still available. Without incentives, such as in the UK, it is likely to start from closer to £30,000 (AU$67,000).
Bryce Gaton is an expert on electric vehicles and contributor for The Driven and Renew Economy. He has been working in the EV sector since 2008 and is currently working as EV electrical safety trainer/supervisor for the University of Melbourne. He also provides support for the EV Transition to business, government and the public through his EV Transition consultancy EVchoice.