Volkswagen isn’t the only European giant working on an electric city car that won’t break the bank.
Speaking at the Financial Times Future of the Car event, as reported by Autocar, Renault Group boss Luca de Meo said a sub-£20,000 (~$35,000) electric car is key to “enable democratisation of EVs that will potentially boost volume”.
The executive has previously called into question the chances of electric cars reaching price parity with their petrol equivalents, but acknowledged the need for manufacturers to make electric power more accessible in the quest to cut vehicle emissions.
Mr de Meo said European carmakers are “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-D-segment, or A-segment car, at a low impact, is probably one of the solutions that the European industry can bring,” he said.
The Italian executive pointed to Japanese kei cars as a source of inspiration for what might open Renault’s electric range.
These boxy city cars are designed to meet strict regulations about their size and power outputs, but come in all shapes and sizes – from sports cars to fire trucks.
“I like very much the idea of translating into European language the concept of kei cars in Japan,” he told the event.
“So 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.”
Under the skin, it’s likely the cheap Renault electric car would ride on the CMF-BEV platform.
The CMF-BEV platform is designed for Volkswagen Polo-sized cars (B-segment, or light), and promises to cut the price of new electric cars by one third.
Range on the tough WLTP test cycle will top out at 400km on the new platform.
How has Renault managed to make the platform so cheap? It shares bits with the CMF-B platform, which underpins the Renault Captur and Nissan Juke crossovers, and will make use of a new nickel-cobalt-manganese battery pack.
The platform will debut under the retro Renault 5 previewed in 2021.