New Renault 5 begins testing ahead of 2024 launch 

The Renault 5 electric hatchback is approaching final sign off, with six Clio-based test mules built to fine tune its dynamics

On the verge of an all-electric future, some manufacturers are looking to past icons to inspire their next-gen models, and Renault will do exactly that when the new 5 hatchback is launched next year. Pitched as a rival to the Honda e, Fiat 500 and Mini Electric, the retro R5 will arrive as part of the firm’s Renaulution electrification strategy, and we’ve now been given more technical details surrounding its mechanical make-up. 

Affordability is key for the R5 project, and to that extent, the car will use a new CMF-B EV platform which derives 70 per cent of its components from the Clio’s CMF-B architecture. Being 30 per cent cheaper to produce than the Zoe’s platform, CMF-B EV’s modular track and wheelbase will see it used in other models beyond the R5, improving economies of scale and, hopefully, reducing the R5’s price. 

That’s not to say that the R5’s mechanicals will be purely cost-driven. Renault has invested in a multi-link rear axle for the electric hatch, where rivals like the Fiat 500 use a torsion beam (the Honda e is more advanced still, using double wishbones). The chassis setup and electronics are currently being honed using six Clio-based test mules - according to Renault engineers, the rear end has been set up with stability in mind to enable a quick, direct steering ratio. 

The R5 will also feature an entirely new braking system, with reworked battery and motor electronics to reduce cost and shed weight over the Zoe. The motor itself will be a front-mounted unit derived from the Zoe, but a new casing mounted above the front axle will house the car’s DC/DC converter, battery charger and power distribution controller, saving 20kg over the Zoe’s solution. 

The under-floor battery pack is a stressed member of the chassis, and has been reconfigured into four large modules, rather than twelve, which trims a further 15kg. There’s no word on exact power or battery capacity, but we don’t expect the R5 to deviate much from the 134bhp and 52kWh figures from the Zoe. Aerodynamic advancements, software improvements and weight savings are likely to improve on the Zoe’s 239 mile range, though. 

There will also be a more powerful, more focused version in the form of the Alpine A290. With Alpine absorbing Renault Sport Cars, it will be responsible for developing a performance variant of the new electric hatch, which has been teased in concept form ahead of its full unveiling in 2024.

It'll sport a more powerful electric motor – potentially the 217bhp unit from the Megane E-Tech – and a specially-tuned chassis to meet the forthcoming Mini Cooper SE head on, with a host of design modifications to separate it from the Renault on which it's based. 

Renault’s new performance car strategy will closely mimic CEO Luca de Meo’s previous plans carried out at Fiat and Seat, where he established Abarth and Cupra as standalone performance car brands.

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