The New Electric Renault 5 Prototype Brings Back Some Good Memories
Published on January 14th, 2021 | by Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai
January 14th, 2021 by Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai
I was born in the 1980s and our family car back then was the Renault 12, so I have always had a soft spot for Renault. The Renault 12 was a simple car and never really gave my Dad any huge problems. We went on a lot of road trips around Zimbabwe in that Renault 12 until he sold it to a taxi guy after ten years or so. As I wrote in my story on my journey from ICE to EVs, my first car was also a Renault. In 2009 when I moved to South Africa to study for a Masters Degree, I got a used 1999 Renault Megane Coupe. I got it for R27,000, which was about $4000 then. But it needed a lot of work. I took it to Renault in Pretoria, and it cost me another R18,000 ($2500) to fix it up, including timing belt changes. That payment really hurt on a student budget and made me really feel the true cost of owning an old ICE car. I quickly traded it in for a 1997 Honda Ballade (Civic). A couple of years later I sold the Honda Ballade and got a VW Passat.
My Renault Megane was a bright yellow. My friends used to make fun of me and said it was too loud of a color and attracted too much attention. They said the traffic cops would always notice that yellow color and stop you. I’m not sure if this was always on the back of my mind, but I did notice I used to get pulled over a lot. I also like the rims on that Megane. I was single at the time, so a 2-door yellow Renault Megane was ok for a college kid. I actually thought that yellow was iconic.
Renault and Peugeot were big brands in Zimbabwe. The Renault, 4, 5, 11, 12 and 18 were popular models in Zimbabwe. I really liked the Renault 18. On the Peugeot side, the 404 and the 504 are almost icons. The 404 station wagon was used mostly by taxi operators helping commuters get around town. So, when Renault announced that the Renault 5 is coming back as an “affordable” electric car as part of its Renaulution Program I was obviously very excited. And the proposed Renault 5 prototype looks stunning. We need more small affordable electric city cars to accelerate adoption. The forthcoming Renault 5 and Renault 4 electric will be welcome additions.
The Renault KZ-E costs just $8,000 in China after incentives and will be available also as the Dacia Spring in Europe. In Germany, where the current incentive is €9,000, the Dacia Spring will cost consumers less than $13,000. The Renault KZ-E is part of a group of cheaper electric cars I like to call ICE killers that will help accelerate the end of the ICE age. We need more of these vehicles in Africa, especially in South Africa, where there is a limited number of brand new EVs available and the cheapest one, the Mini Cooper SE starts at R642,000 ($42,000). Not cheap, especially considering its real-world range of just over 200 km, but it is the cheapest EV available right now down here. It comes in just a bit cheaper than the BMW i3, which you can get for around $49,000. The rest of the models cost more than R1 million like the Jaguar I-PACE, which costs about $111,000. To really drive adoption, we need more models in the sub R350,000 ($23,000) range.
Small city cars are making quite an impact on EV sales in China. Jose Pontes’ recent update showed the Wuling mini EV continues to shine. The SAIC–GM–Wuling joint-venture model had 33,094 registrations in November. It starts from just $4200. These sales show that we need models for all types of consumers. If we can get a variety of models with sticker prices of $5000, $10,000, $15,000, $20,000, etc. outside China, then we can start to see a huge dent of the ICE vehicle landscape. With the launch of the new Renault 4 and 5 in the near future along with similar models from other brands, we may finally have more options for different kinds of consumers soon. This will remove a major stumbling block for people who were looking into acquiring EVs citing the large differences in the sticker prices between a lot of EVs and comparable ICE vehicles. The Renault ZOE ZE 50 R110 with a 54.7 kWh battery that is good for about 300 km starts from around £26,000 Pounds. It is really quite expensive compared to the ICE Renault Clio, which is around £15,000.
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