One glance at this crisp little concept puts one number in your mind. Five. Yup, it’s a new Renault 5. No surprise that it’s being revived as an electric car. And there will be a hot-hatch Alpine version.
It’s not just candy. A production version of this Renault 5 Prototype will launch in less than three years from now. The French carmaker has huge experience in small EVs through the Zoe. We can assume, though it’s not confirmed, that the new 5 will replace the Zoe.
It will use a smaller version of the second-generation Renault-Nissan EV platform. That new platform has a slim battery so the 5 needn’t be tall. The fully-electric Megane, which will use the same platform, has a 217hp motor and front-wheel drive. The base 5 will obviously get less, but the Megane gives a solid hint of what the Alpine 5 could do. The battery allows for quick charging, too, at up to 130kW.
Renault insists the 5 will be good value as daily driver for the city, saying it will “democratize the electric car.” As a company, it says it’s now able to make electric cars for the same cost as gasoline and diesel equivalents.
The 1972 Renault 5 was part of the first wave of superminis. It was genuinely avant-garde in design, but also useful, fun, and modern. Lots of French people argue the Gordini version was the first hot hatch, as it was out before the Mk1 Golf GTI, but let’s not go down that rabbit hole. Anyway, after huge sales, and more hot versions including the GT Turbo, the second-gen R5 was eventually replaced by the more grownup Clio. This 5 Prototype’s styling is the work of Gilles Vidal, Renault’s new design director. Remember he came from Peugeot and did the e-Legend concept, another classic French car revived for our age.
There’s a lot of the original 5 in the front and rear lights, and the profile and the rear pillar shape, plus the flattish surfaces. Those wheels are a nod to the original three-spokers.
But the details and the proportions are super-modern. It has, Vidal says, finishes and details inspired by sports equipment and electronics.
No details on the interior yet, but then the concept has been done in a hurry. Under new CEO Luca de Meo, over the past half-year, Renault has completely revised its direction for the future. This involves ditching seven planned cars and starting afresh with eight new ones, including this.
De Meo says he knows from experience that “if you reinvent a cult car, it lights a fire under the whole brand.” That experience? He was largely responsible when he worked for Fiat for getting the 500 revived in 2007.
More photos of the Renault 5:
NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.