Renault 5: The First Electric Car I’d Actually Buy

I’ll be the first to admit I’m an EV sceptic. Sure, some of that bias can be found in my deep-rooted love for the mechanised madness that is the internal combustion engine. Over a hundred years of refining explosions into forward propulsion gives a vehicle character that you just don’t get from EVs.

But it’s more than that. I’m a sceptic because I don’t really think it’s the answer. It’s a small part of a very large problem and I’m a little sick of tired of governments gaslighting the motorist into believing that driving a 10-year-old diesel Golf is the reason polar bears don’t have a roof over their heads.

The reality is the electric car is there to save the automotive world. Not the actual one we all live in. If we were that bothered about halting the runaway train that is climate change, we wouldn’t just pull back on the throttle, we’d kill the power and slam on the emergency brake.

What makes far more sense is a world that doesn’t make the millions of existing vehicles obsolete. But instead provides them with carbon-neutral fuel to run on until there are graveyards of ICE cars all with a quarter of a million miles on.

The answer is not to start taking different materials out of the ground and combining them into batteries, shipping them all around the globe before stuffing them with electricity from non-renewable energy sources, only to then have a desperately inefficient vehicle that weighs a tonne more than it should do wafting around cities tax-free.

However, the new Renault 5 is the first EV that might actually make sense, because it appears to have been designed sensibly, not just as a token gift to the climate change gods.

Firstly, Renault are committed to producing as many parts as possible including the battery from within 300km of the factory in France.

Battery options are also modest, not needlessly attempting to replace 600+ mile munching diesels, but actually catering for the needs of its users. There’s a 52kWh pack offering 249 miles of range or a 40kWh reducing the range to around 186 miles.

Although a bit heavier than a similar ICE vehicle, the R5 is 1350kg with the smaller of the two battery options. By no means a featherweight, but also not over two-tonnes of environmental posturing that most EV’s are.

The R5 also doesn’t cost a stupid amount of money. Sure, its not Dacia cheap, but at around £25k it’s a far more attractive proposition than a £30k+ electric Corsa.

So, the my logical brain is convinced, but how about emotional? Is this a car you’d actually want? Well Renault have pulled out all the stops here to make sure that it is.

They’re claiming its 95% the same as the prototype they first showed which was incredibly well received. Largely thanks to how well it paid homage to the legendary Renault 5 of old. Relatively small, boxy, short overhangs and properly filled arches give the car a real hot hatch stance particularly in the incredibly strong colours Renault have launched with. I’m yet to see anyone not excited by how this thing looks.

The interior is similarly vintage themed but with all the modern luxuries you’d expect; including a baguette holder – of course. There’s just about space for adults in the back too, although I wouldn’t expect any long road trips four up. But then that’s not the point.

The R5 is a very deliberately designed city car with sensible manufacturing ethos, reasonable proportions, excellent aesthetics and at sold at a reasonable price! Just a shame it’s French…




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