Other automakers covet Renault A-segment platform
The French firm’s first mover advantage on small BEVs is attracting rivals’ attention
France’s Renault is confident that its Twingo A-segment BEV it plans to launch in 2026 will be 40pc cheaper to produce than the Renault 5 it will debut this year, in line with the cost reduction goals set by its EV and software spin-off Ampere. And this ability to drive down costs is not going unnoticed by its peers.
Renault CEO Luca de Meo refuses to comment on speculation that Germany’s VW is potentially interested in developing a model on the CMF-BEV platform on which Renault will build BEVs for the A and B segment. But the Renault chief does confirm “talks” with other OEMs interested in the platform.
“The A-segment platform is a very good idea. We have a very good technical base. We have an ability to price and manufacture cars. We are going to do the car in a record time in terms of development,” de Meo says.
“The concept of the Twingo is intriguing a few OEMs that so far do not have a solution for [the A segment],” he continues. “You know my fight for revamping the segment of small European cars because I think, with electric technology, we can provide something that is both relevant for consumers and, at the same time — with a new electric architecture, maybe new type of batteries, etc. — we can actually prove we are able to make money with a small car.”
And he argues that this profitability is no longer achievable for small European ICE vehicles, “taking into account all the regulations”.
Changing customer appetite
“The switch to electric opens up again the opportunity to bring affordable European cars to the people that need them. They used to be 10-15pc of the European market. [Their share] is going down because of the current regulations on ICE cars,” de Meo suggests.
Even before the lower-cost Twingo arrives, the Renault chief is excited about the upcoming launches this year of BEV versions of the Scenic and Renault 5. While neither are available for sale yet — meaning, de Meo readily admits, the firm has no quantitative data on customer response, only qualitative — Renault likes the early signs.
“We have feedback that is coming from dealers networks, from specialised media and from social media, and we clearly feel that these cars have a lot of potential,” de Meo says.
“These are two products that not everybody has,” he continues. “Both products will contribute to the democratisation of EVs in Europe. But democratisation means you have to sell volumes.
“The Renault 5 platform, what we call the CMF-BEV, is the first small-car, next-generation, pure EV platform in Europe. We are two years ahead of any competitor,” he concludes. As a result, de Meo expects the Renault 5 and its performance sister the Alpine 5, the Alpine A290 and the Renault 5 to be successful.