Could it be possible to love the Renault 4 more? You might think the Renault icon was perfection with its distinctive design... but what if you took off the roof, gave it a 21st-century update and made it electric?
The result would look very much like the Renault e-PLEIN AIR, unveiled by Renault Classic in October 2019 to mark the tenth anniversary of the 4L International event.
Based on a shortened JP4 platform, with electric components from the Twizy 80 model, the e-PLEIN AIR was created and designed by Renault Classic with the help of Renault Design department. The whole is an unmistakable tribute to the Renault 4, with a front-end design borrowed from the beloved 4L (“Quatrelle”), yet brought thoroughly up to date.
The idea came from an informal discussion between Denis Mahaud of Melun Rétro Passion (a vintage parts company that specialises in the Renault 4) and Hugues Portron, Head of Renault Classic. At the Epoqu’Auto show in November 2018, they noted how many popular cars were having an electric makeover and asked themselves how the 4L (“Quatrelle”) and, more particularly, its limited edition Plein Air version of 1968 could join their ranks.
After all, Renault was the first brand to have a range of electric vehicles as well as being a pioneer in electric mobility. The 100% electric Renault Zoé has been a bestseller since its release at the end of 2012, and the unveiling of the New Zoe with its promise of even better performance and range is eagerly awaited.
Looking ready for the most stylish beaches in the South of France, the new two-seater e-PLEIN AIR boasts a top speed of 85 km/h – more than enough to feel the wind in your hair. The chic factor is boosted by its matte white finish, highlighted by Mediterranean blue seats, a modern digital dash and added cuteness from touches such as a wicker picnic basket.
The engine delivers 17hp (57Nm) and the 6.1 kW battery can be charged from any 220 V 16 A socket. Weight is kept to 580kg to boost the ever-crucial range and there are drum brakes all round. Fittingly for a car paying tribute to Renault’s first front-wheel-drive family car, the e-PLEIN AIR is also FWD.
No one who sees this new Renault will be able to resist the urge to jump in and join the fun. With a remarkable range of 100 km, who knows where it will take you?