Meet Renault’s E-Plein Air Concept, A Strange Blend Of Retro Charm And Modern Technology
When it comes to celebrating historically significant events, most car manufacturers tend to develop thoroughly modern iterations of their greatest classic offerings with the only link being a thread of nostalgia that hopefully strikes the right chords with their fans. While this method can work, Renault has chosen a slightly different path for the 10th running of its 4L International event, and in collaboration with Renault Classic and classic French parts specialist Melun Rétro Passion has created the electrically-powered e-Plein Air concept.
Based on the classic Renault 4 Plein Air, the concept car’s exterior looks practically the same as the original although it eschews the rear seats for a shallow load bay, which was necessary to make space for the battery. It and the rest of the e-Plein Air’s mechanical components are taken from the diminutive Twizy city car; this means a 6.1 kWh battery pack and up to 17hp and 42 lb-ft of torque. That set-up gives the Twizy a range of up to 62 miles if driven well within its 50mph top speed. Renault has not revealed how the presumably heavier e-Plein Air performs—while it clearly won’t be setting any land speed records, it should be plenty to get to the beach and back.
What makes this retro-inspired EV different from just about every one-off electric concept car is that it shares a number of key components with the original. There may be a (basic) digital dashboard but that steering wheel and even some of the switchgear is straight out of the classic Plein Air. Aside from the odd white-colored plastic panel on the new car they look even more similar from the outside. While Renault has not announced whether they intend to put the e-Plein Air concept into production─modern safety regulations may make it virtually impossible without big changes─it could pave the way for some interesting conversions on existing Plein Air models as well as other classic Renaults.
Images courtesy of Renault