Tuesday newsbriefs, Renault 5 revival

January 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

Quick round-up of today’s headlines:

  • The UK government has announced an extension of the Plug-In Car Grants (for EVs and plug-in hybrids) till 2015, and vans are now eligible. The grants give up to 25% (or £5000) towards the cost of a new car, or 20%/£8000 towards a van.
  • Skoda has started to test a fleet of 10 Octavia Green E Line EVs; these develop 60kW of power and can do 135kph; acceleration 0-62 comes up in a respectable 12 seconds. Skoda has also confirmed an electric version of its Citigo city car, coming 2014; this is a sister model to the Volkswagen Up/e-Up and Seat Mi. The E-Citigo will be good for an 80-mile range and 0-60 in less than 10 seconds. And also coming up: plug-in hybrid versions of the Octavia, Yeti and Superb, says Autobild.
  • More on that Toyota 2000GT Solar EV: it was actually built by a team of off-duty Toyota engineers. Full story – and video – at The Charging Point.
  • Mercedes-Benz is planning more Vito E-Cell variants. The initial 100-van test fleet has now completed 650,000km of evaluation-mileage. More at Green Car Congress.

The story that I’m thinking about, however, is the news on the potential revival of the Renault 5 (pictured). Well, not the 5 as we remember it, but a new-age sub-Clio-sized supermini which will be as ground-breaking as the original little hatchback was in its day. Surely that’s got to mean an electric powertrain, given Renault’s new focus, at least as an option? The company’s just radically slimmed down its UK line-up, axing the Wind, Modus, Espace, passenger-carrying Kangoo and even the Laguna, whilst going all-out to launch the electric Kangoo ZE van, Fluence saloon, Twizy scooter and upcoming Zoe city car.  Bring it on: a practical and utilitarian small hatch with clever interior packaging, clean lines and unpretentious styling, comfy suspension and – of course – an affordable price tag. But please make it more reliable than last time (I speak with bad memories of my first car, an ’88 5 GTX 1.7).

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