the competition of electric cars under 25,000 euros


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Forget Drive to survive and Formula 1 with Netflix sauce. The biggest duel to come in the car will not be Lewis Hamilton against Max Verstappen, but Renault against Volkswagen. That will not happen at more than 300 km/h, but on everything Europe has car markets. And it won’t see two ultra-luxury cars go head-to-head, but two supposedly affordable electric compacts. The competition pitting the future electric Renault 5 against the Volkswagen ID.2 promises to spark sparks, and for good reason the two contenders are targeting a segment in high demand and very little supply, that of electric cars for less than 25,000 euros.

Admittedly, the official kick-off is only planned in two years’ time, when the ID.2 comes on the market with an R5 that already has a few kilometers on the clock. Is it therefore reasonable to want to object to two vehicles that are still not being marketed? We do not pretend here to draw any definitive conclusions, not even to declare a winner. It is also impossible to judge a car without getting into it and driving several tens of kilometers. However, we now have a large amount of information, final or almost finished designs of each of the models and almost all information about their technical basis. It is therefore quite possible to place the ID.2 against the Renault on all these points in order to identify the first lessons or trends that will (or will not) be confirmed when they are launched on the market. Here is the point-by-point duel between the two most anticipated electric vehicles under 25,000 euros.

Design: poles apart

The first and most visible point of comparison is the look of the two cars. In that respect, it is difficult to say that one manufacturer and the other could have made more opposing choices. And yet the two compacts got their inspiration from the same place, in the museum of their respective manufacturer. If the electric R5 fully assumes the relationship with its illustrious predecessor, this is slightly less the case with the ID.2, which nevertheless takes over many aesthetic details from the first version of the Golf. Where the Losange presumes to have embraced a neo-retro strategy (which will be continued by the electric 4L), the German is more subdued with a vehicle that subtly combines evocations of a glorious past with a desire to create a new identity. to build.

But more than the external lines, it is the visual impression that the two models leave that differ. The R5 instantly stirs up the nostalgic fibers of some of its viewers. For those with a shorter memory (or a younger age), it still shows more character, evokes a sportier demeanor and, above all, a car that could be fun to drive. Conversely, the universal design of the ID.2 (which could evolve somewhat from the current concept) couldn’t be more sensible and polished.

Pronunciation : In terms of design, probably the most obvious sticking point between the two models, our preference is for the compact Renault. More assertive, more elaborate, but also more mischievous, it has all the characteristics of a favorite car.

Interior equipment and on-board system: impossible duel

The contrast between the ID.2 and the R5 in the passenger compartment will not be as obvious as for the exterior design. The reason ? Of the two, only one interior is known, that of Volkswagen. Although the compact Diamond has been unveiled for more than a year, the interior remains a secret. Some indiscretions point to the presence of a dual screen and many nods to the R5 of yesteryear, but no image has been shown for now.

Conversely, the ID.2’s interior is already familiar, and unsurprisingly, it’s just as slick as the exterior. However, the presence of a double screen consisting of a 10.9-inch display for the instrument panel and a 12.9-inch panel for the central part is a sign that VW does not want to neglect the quality of its car’s interior.

Finally, we can’t compare the two vehicles without talking about their software environment. On this point, Renault shows a significant lead as it already seems certain that the R5 will run on Android, just like the current electric Mégane. The adoption of the Google system was particularly well done by the Renault engineers who could rely on an effective application base while taking care of their software overlay.
On the other hand, Volkswagen has suffered from recurring software problems since the arrival of its latest system on the 8th generation Golf, then the ID.3. The manufacturer has promised to correct certain errors, in particular the use of all-touch without waiting for the ID.2. In fact, the latter should benefit from this review. In addition, on the image unveiled by VW, it is possible to see the arrival of a new operating system, very different from what the brand currently offers.

Pronunciation : in the absence of available elements, it is impossible to choose between the two competitors at this point. VW’s OS delay seems significant at the moment, but the German manufacturer could surprise by bringing its recognized interior know-how into play.

Engine and performance: The other big divide

This difference is certainly less visible, but no less important. The two vehicles made radically different choices in terms of development. The electric Renault 5, or Renault 5 E-Tech (the final name is not yet known), will be based on the CMF-B EV platform, or a technical basis from thermal car adapted to electric. She is at the cradle of the Clio, but also of the Zoé and the Twingo ZE.

Volkswagen has also not developed a platform for its electric entry-level model. In the same approach of achieving economies of scale and relying on component sharing to reduce production costs, VW has released its good old MEB. This has been adapted for the occasion in MEB Entry, i.e. it has been shortened slightly and the driving part has been moved forward. As a result, the ID.2, but also the ID.1 will be front-wheel drive electric cars, with the R5, like most current zero-emission cars, relying on a rear-wheel drive engine. But the big difference in this a priori comparable choice is that MEB is a platform dedicated to electrics and has significant advantages that Renault will find difficult to capitalize on.

Renault’s CMF-B EV platform

The first concerns the habitability on board. On a platform for electricity, there is no need to allocate space for components that are essential for a thermal release. As a result, the ID.2 will benefit from an XXL trunk given its small size (440 L), as well as a 50 L hatch under the bench seat, for storing charging cables. The R5 will be much less spacious on board.

MEB Entry VW

VW’s MEB entry-level platform

The other side of Renault’s CMF-B EV platform choice is that it limits its engine choice. The compact from Renault will probably have to take over the 100 kW block of the current Zoé R135 for an output of 136 hp. Another version of the R5 is planned, but the power should not exceed 150 hp. The ID.2, on the other hand, appears much more muscular. The engine may have been moved forward, but it’s nonetheless impressive for a small compact. Its 166 kW (or 226 hp) should give it a significant performance advantage over its rival.

Pronunciation : The first look at the data sheet is decidedly in favor of the German compact. Choosing the MEB Entry platform for the ID.2 should give VW a significant advantage, both from a habitability and performance point of view.

Autonomy: 50 km separate them

The choice of platform that determines the maximum capacity of the batteries, Renault is again limited by the use of its traditional CMF-B EV, initially planned for the thermal Clio, let’s not forget. The French manufacturer has not yet communicated the values of its batteries, but explained that it will offer two battery levels and a maximum autonomy of 400 km, which it considers sufficient for a city car.

On the shortened version of the MEB platform, Volkswagen has a little more space and should approach 50 kWh with its battery. As a result, the range of the ID.2 is estimated at 450 km, which is quite close to what the R5 will offer. On the other hand, the manufacturer from Wolfsburg has already announced that it is very competitive in terms of high charging speed. It promises a 10 to 80% battery “full” in about 20 minutes, with no further precision.
On the Renault side, we are not yet at this level of detail, but the manufacturer has already made some very curious choices in this area in the past (particularly on the Mégane E-Tech), which it will undoubtedly have to avoid in the future . coming. Nevertheless, the French manufacturer is working with the CEA to develop the future charger for its electric cars. This one should be ready for the R5.

Pronunciation : In terms of autonomy, the first choice of an electric platform gives the ID.2 an interesting advantage, but not prohibitively expensive. If the promise of 400 km is kept by Renault, and if the charging part follows, this value should be sufficient for the vast majority of applications.

Which version of each car at 25,000 euros?

That is ultimately the central question of this duel. As often, before the official launch of their cars, the manufacturers only give the maximum values of their technical data sheets. In other words, the information we currently have, on the power of the engines, on the capacity of the batteries and even on the interior equipment, corresponds to the most advanced versions of the two models… and not those under 25,000 euros.

As often it will be necessary to see what compromises are proposed to bring the price down to this level. For example, it is obvious that versions under 25,000 euros will have a battery with a lower capacity and that their range will be around 300 km. However, the ID.2, like the R5 E-Tech, should offer a very rare proposition on the market, as there is currently only one model on sale with roughly similar features, the MG4 in its standard version.

Verdict of the duel

While it is far too early to pinpoint a potential winner, some certainties emerge at the end of this initial comparison. On the one hand, it seems certain that the match between the two rivals will be hot (not to say electric) and indeed they have every reason to oppose. But what is even more interesting, what appears to be the strength of one often turns out to be a weakness of the second and vice versa. The R5 will focus on its pleasant, original and committed appearance, but will undoubtedly have a technical defect compared to the ID.2. Conversely, the German compact will try to forget its lack of audacity with a much more ambitious technical sheet. See you in 2025 for a duel in optima forma.