Iconic French car is unrecognisable in Renault’s electric SUV redesign

The new Renault 4 Electric will go on sale in 2025 with few design links to the classic original

Eight million Renault 4L models were sold in over 100 countries between 1961 and 1994; Renault 4 Electric round headlights nod to its predecessor
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Renault has unveiled a concept car based on the new Renault 4L – which looks nothing like the old one which was hugely popular in France and abroad.

The original, with an upright, light hatchback body, small petrol motor, skinny tyres, and famous ‘umbrella stick’ gear change, was a huge success for the company, with eight million cars sold in more than 100 countries between 1961 and 1994.

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Still used as taxis and rally cars

They are still sometimes seen in French towns, although many have now been heavily modified to be driven in North African rallies – either all-women events (the Gazelle Rally) or student ones in the fundraising 4L Trophy rally.

In many African countries they are still commonly used as taxis, as the relatively simple mechanics in the car mean they are easy to fix and parts are easy to find.

New version has ‘beefy Tonka toy’ style

The new Renault 4 Electric, which will go on sale in 2025, has had its design finalised, says Renault, and unofficial guidance from the company is that it will look a lot like the concept car called the 4ever Trophy.

If it follows the concept car, it will have a beefy sport utility vehicle-type body and ‘Tonka toy’ styling, and will be half a metre longer and half a metre wider than its predecessor.

Round headlamps and other styling clues will serve to link it with the 4L.

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Factory in Maubeuge, northern France will make the car

Renault says its relationship with its other new all-electric car, the R5 Electric, due in showrooms in late 2024, will be the same as that between the existing Captur SUV and the Clio small car.

Both the R5 Electric and R4 Electric will be fitted with technology which will allow their batteries to be used to send power to the grid when they are plugged into the wall at times of peak demand.

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The Renault factory in Maubeuge in the north of France will be used to make both the R5 and R4 electric cars.

Price not yet announced

Many of the parts, especially for the power train, will be based on the Zoé electric car Renault has been selling since 2013, with the company saying this will give it a 30% cost advantage compared to competitors that are designing electric cars from scratch.

Prices have not been announced, but the company said it will be more expensive than the electric R5.

Zoé models cost around €30,000 to buy, before government grants designed to promote electric motoring.

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