Renault Espace could return as retro electric MPV

So rumour has it that Renault is contemplating the revival of the Espace MPV, leveraging the flexibility of their electric car platforms to explore various body styles. The flexibility of the company’s electric car platforms enables it to explore and revisit a range of different body styles.

What is the Renault Espace like currently?

Currently, the Espace exists as a stretched seven-seat version of the Austral hybrid SUV. However, there’s a possibility that the iconic name could be redeployed for an electric people carrier that pays homage to the original Espace concept and design, which was first launched in 1984, according to AutoCar.

This potential electric Espace could draw inspiration from its predecessor’s distinctive features, including a boxy silhouette, short overhangs, and an aerodynamically optimized steep bonnet and windscreen—elements influenced by France’s high-speed TGV trains. While technical challenges exist, Renault’s commitment to expanding its electric car lineup into new segments remains strong.

What’s the proposed electric Espace?

The proposed electric Espace would be based on the Ampr Medium architecture (formerly known as CMF-EV), which also underpins the Mégane and Scenic electric crossovers. This move would position Renault to compete with models like the Volkswagen ID Buzz and Kia EV9. Additionally, it could take on the challenge posed by the new wave of Chinese electric MPVs, including the Maxus Mifa 7, Xpeng X9, and Zeekr Mix.

However, there are technical hurdles to overcome. As the car’s weight exceeds 2.0-2.2 tonnes, it becomes mandatory for it to be rear-driven from a technical perspective. Renault’s global leader for the Ampr Medium platform, Olivier Brosse, highlighted this challenge. Despite these constraints, the flexibility of electric car platforms allows for optimized internal packaging and greater design freedom.

What does Renault’s global leader for the Ampr Medium platform, Olivier Brosse

Brosse emphasized during talks with AutoCar that while it is technically feasible, they would need to assess whether European customers would embrace an MPV in an electric format. It realized, this electric, seven-seat Espace MPV would be based on the Ampr Medium architecture, which also underpins the Mégane and Scenic electric crossovers.

However, Brosse was keen to point out that an electric MPV would bring with it some fundamental technical challenges. “I think one technical problem we have is that after the car exceeds 2.0-2.2 tonnes, from a technical perspective it’s mandatory that the car becomes rear-driven,” said Brosse.

He referenced Alliance partner firm Nissan’s Ariya SUV as an example of how far the Ampr Medium platform can go in terms of weight in its current form, saying that an increase above 2000kg would result in a switch to a rear-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive layout, according to AutoCar.

Brosse also suggested the flexibility of the architecture means the technical constraints aren’t necessarily an inhibitor to expanding the Renault EV portfolio into new segments, saying: “There is no strict policy in Renault.” With electric car platforms bringing a number of benefits that allow us to optimise internal packaging, Brosse feels that this gives a lot more freedom from a design point of view.

If the Espace makes a comeback, it could draw inspiration from its original namesake, characterized by a boxy silhouette, short overhangs, and aerodynamically optimized features inspired by France’s high-speed trains. While Renault hasn’t confirmed plans for other historic models beyond its compact EVs, the reinvention of classic designs remains an intriguing possibility as the company expands its EV portfolio and we’re here for it, are you?

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