Renault’s kei car for Europe
A sub-£20k entry-level electric Renault is in the works, inspired by Japanese microcars
R enault is working on a sub-£20,000 EV in an attempt to make electric car ownership more mainstream and affordable in Europe. The proposed model, set to go up against the forthcoming Volkswagen ID 1 when both reach production, was announced by Renault Group boss Luca de Meo at the FT’s recent Future of the Car event. “It’s one of the things that will enable democratisation of EVs that will, potentially, boost volume,” he said, suggesting that the model will help to drive mass electric car ownership in both the UK and mainland Europe.
A big inspiration for the baby Renault, added de Meo, is Japanese-market kei cars. These affordable microcars, which are strictly regulated in terms of size and power, accounted for more than one in three of the 4.2 million new vehicles sold in Japan last year. “I like very much the idea of translating into European language the concept of kei cars in Japan,” said de Meo.
“I think that there is some intelligence in that kind of concept, because it’s not only a product issue. It is a product-plus-regulation [issue] to enable efficient and low-impact human mobility.” When it arrives, most likely in the next five years, the entry-level Renault is expected to be based on the CMF-BEV platform of the upcoming Renault 5 and sportier Alpine A290. Renault has already touted the dynamic potential of the architecture, which mounts the battery pack under the car to lower its centre of mass and improve handling.
Renault could also turn to sibling brand Dacia’s Europesold Spring EV for inspiration as well as tech. The A-segment crossover, priced from roughly £14,000 in France after local incentives, is smaller than a Ford Fiesta, has a top speed capped at 62mph and can drive up to only 140 miles per charge. It uses an electric motor that makes 44bhp and 92lb ft, fed by a 26.8kWh battery.
Speaking about both the impact and importance of a car like this, de Meo said: “I’m acting right now as a president of the European Association; we are fighting against some of the things that we don’t consider right for the industry. “But on the other side, we’re totally aware that we also have to bring solutions to the problems, from air quality to decarbonation. And I think that being able to produce a sub-Bsegment or A-segment car, at a low impact, is probably one of the solutions that the European industry can bring.”
VW ID 1 rival could be powered by Dacia Spring EV internals. New model is tipped to use the Renault 5’s CMF-BEV platform. De Meo says baby Renault can “democratise” EV ownership.