Renault bets on nostalgia to seduce drivers with its future electric cars. Thus, the connected Renault 4 and 5 that the manufacturer has presented in the form of a concept to renew and diversify its current rechargeable range.
In the 1970s, these 2 models had already been adapted to electric traction with EDF as a partner.
Renault 4 electric 1972
Last May, the National Audiovisual Institute (INA) took from its archives a documentary of just over 2 minutes shown in 1972 and featuring the electric Renault 4 designed in partnership with EDF.
Equipped with lead batteries installed in place of the rear seat, it presented an already outdated performance for a passenger car, excluding vehicles classified as quadricycles. Its maximum speed was limited to 60 km/h, for a range of 100-110 km on the road and 60-70 km in the city, achieved at lower speeds and in ideal conditions (no wind, rain, cold or hills, and very light foot on the accelerator).
Note that in current EVs, the range is greater in urban areas. This is explained by the development of regenerative braking today and lead-acid batteries that were less able to withstand reminders than lithium-ion chemistry.
Modest, the numbers were, however, increased, illuminating the car as much as possible. If we immediately recognize the R4’s line, the bodywork is however very different, made with plastic materials. One detail betrayed this special treatment: there is no side door at the rear. With the exception of the windshield, the windows were made of Plexiglas, which is lighter than glass.
” Easiest use is day use and night charging “, is stated in this very short documentary. The famous parking meters, now gone, were then intended to support an electrical outlet. This is reminiscent of using street lamps today for recharging.
Due to reduced maintenance and easier driving, the converted electric machine was of particular interest to women.
Electric Renault 4 of tomorrow
Last month, Losange unveiled its electric Renault 4 concept for tomorrow as part of the Paris Motor Show. The exposed prototype does not make reductions. If we find the original design a little bit (grille, flat hood, glazing elements, taillights, etc.), the machine appeared as an adventurous SUV, more in line with the use that is made today in older models with the 4L Trophy. Furthermore, the name 4Ever Trophy assigned to the vehicle is a direct wink.
Compared to the 1970s 4L, the body was 50 cm long (4.16 vs. 3.66 m), 62 cm wide (1.48 vs. . 1.53m). So much so that the future electric Renault 4 must be placed in the catalog above the 5 that will come.
The principle of a minimalist vehicle, in full competition with the Citroën 2 CV, has been lost. Will that spirit be revived with the future production model due to launch in 2025? At the Paris Motor Show, the manufacturer communicated about a lithium-ion battery with an energy capacity of 42 kWh, providing a wound-rotor motor with a power of 100 kW (136 hp).
Renault 5 electric 1974
In the mid-1970s, Renault also launched around fifty 48V electric R5s with lead batteries, again in collaboration with EDF, which will use them internally. For the occasion, the latter assured: The energy that electric vehicles consume, coming from EDF plants, will, in the future, be mainly of nuclear origin, which will reduce the country’s needs for petroleum products. “.
A few years will have been enough to achieve better performance than the R4: top speed of around 80 km/h, full charge in around ten hours, up to 175 kilometers of autonomy in the best conditions. No later than 2017, a copy of this car was exhibited as part of the Mobility Festival organized by the La Roche-sur-Yon conurbation, in addition to the Vendée Energy Tour.
An ex-Losange explained the presence of a sunroof at the rear of this strict 2 places to place or remove the lead pack. Former motorcyclist and Minister for Quality of Life of the first Chirac government (1974-1976), André Jarrot told a journalist from the daily La Voix du Nord in June 1974: “ I can tell you it’s as easy to ride as a bicycle “.
Tomorrow’s electric Renault 5
The current Renault Zoé is due to be replaced from the beginning of 2024 by the new electric R5 built at the Douai factory, resuming the general style of the prototype presented last year. Like the future R4, it will be based on the CMF-B EV platform, also gaining in volume over its predecessor. Just by the length, it will stretch another 44 cm (3.96 against 3.52 m).
Losange customers should be able to choose between 2 Li-Ion battery power capacities (45 or 52 kWh) and two powers for the wound rotor motor (92 kW/125 hp or 110 kW/150 hp).
It is very likely that the new R5 will be successful once it is marketed. He will appropriate a capital of double sympathy: that of the seventies model on which it is based and which left great memories, and that of the Zoé that has already conquered many drivers in France and elsewhere.