Proposed EV will take inspiration from Japanese kei cars
Report suggests £20,000 Twingo replacement will break cover on Wednesday and go on sale in 2026
Renault is poised to reveal a small, affordable electric supermini that will sit under the 5 and serve as a spiritual successor to the Twingo.
Automotive News Europe – citing three sources familiar with the plans – reports that the model is due to go on sale in 2026, and will be revealed this Wednesday (15 November) at the firm’s capital markets day.
ANE reports that the car is being revealed in a bid to reassure investors as Renault aims to list its new electric vehicle arm, Ampere, on the stock market. Ampere aims to bring six electric vehicles to market by 2030, and to have built one million cars by 2032.
The city car will, however, wear a Renault badge in production.
The report says Renault’s factory in Novo Mesto, Slovenia, is likely to build the new car. Certainly, it would make sense to build a European-focused, low-price supermini locally, to minimise operational costs and the impact of trade tariffs.
A new Renault supermini neatly fill the gap left by the Twingo, which is still available in some left-hand-drive markets, but is nearing 10 years old. The Zoe, which is being phased out of production after ten years, will be more directly replaced by the 5.
Plans for a new entry-level Renault model were made public earlier this year, when company CEO Luca de Meo revealed his ambition to ‘democratise’ EV ownership in Europe. Indications that it will undercut the 5 on price suggest that it could go on sale at around the £20,000 mark.
De Meo referred to the new model as “one of the things that will enable democratisation of EVs that will potentially boost volume,” he said, suggesting that it will help to boost mass electric car ownership in both the UK and mainland Europe.
A huge inspiration for the car, de Meo said, are Japanese-market kei micocars, which are strictly size- and power-regulated. These affordable cars accounted for more than one in three of the 4.2 million new vehicles sold in Japan last year.
“I like very much the idea of translating into European language the concept of kei cars in Japan. 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.”
The Renault Group already sells the cheapest full-sized electric passenger car in Europe: the Spring. This A-segment crossover, priced from roughly £14,000 in France with local incentives, is smaller than a Ford Fiesta, is capped at 62mph and can cover only 140 miles per charge. It uses an electric motor that makes 44bhp and 92lb ft, and is fed by a 26.8kWh battery.
While that car is based on the Chinese-market Renault City K-ZE, and based on a variation of the company’s CMF-A platform, any entry-level Renault is likely to be based on a variation of the CMF-BEV platform used by the upcoming Renault 5 and sportier Alpine A290.
Speaking about the impact and importance of a car like this, de Meo said: “I’m acting right now as a president of the European [Automobile Manufacturers’] Association. We are fighting against some of the things that we don’t consider right for the industry.
“But on the other side, we’re 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.”
Additional reporting by Felix Page