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New Renault 5 E-Tech EV to feature 3Dprint@flins accessories

The parts are printed on demand at the Group's Refactory facility in Flins

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Renault 5 was a unique car renowned for its avant-garde design, versatility and fuel frugality. It addressed the challenges of its times for millions of families, responding to the oil shock, changing lifestyles, and the need for a second car. Carrying on this extremely modern heritage, Renault 5 E-Tech electric is a bold response to the societal and environmental challenges of our time – energy sobriety, sustainability and a small carbon footprint. As such, it had to include AM and it does with custom parts made at the Renault Refactory advanced manufacturing facility in Flins, near Paris.

“Some products are magical. You don’t need endless discussions; everybody always agrees on what needs to be done. And they just do it. There’s no inertia. When a company revives a car that left such great memories, it pours a huge amount of love into it. This is something that is always promising for the future since it is recognized by customers. They can see the love that went into the car,” said Luca de Meo, CEO of Renault Group.

New Renault 5 E-Tech EV to feature 3Dprint@flins accessories, 3D printed on demand at the Group's Refactory facility in Flins

Developed through innovative working methods, the production model has all the magic and charm of the show car. By leveraging Refactory’s 3D printing capabilities for intensive prototyping, it was developed in just three years, compared with the usual four. Packed with electrical and digital technology and entirely manufactured in France, it is also competitively priced, starting at around €25,000.

Renault’s Refactory facility produces prototype parts for new vehicle models, spare parts for machines and consumer parts and accessories for new vehicles. For this production, the team has design and printing facilities, with a fleet of 18 machines using melted wire and powder melting technologies for both metals and polymers. In 2022, 11,000 pieces will be produced in this workshop, or 1.4 million cm3 of printed material.

New Renault 5 E-Tech EV to feature 3Dprint@flins accessories, 3D printed on demand at the Group's Refactory facility in Flins

“To develop this car in just three years in France, to the highest technological standard, all our decisions had to be disruptive, and our organization as agile as possible. We were the first ones to make a bet on a 100% electric platform for a small European car, to optimise costs across the value chain, to relocate our industrial ecosystem… Only an iconic car could bring our teams together in this way and move the needle internally,” Mr de Meo, continued. “In the face of significant change in our industry, this car paves a new way for Renault. It’s at the heart of the battle to reinvent European industry against competition coming from the East and the West. With this vehicle, we’re proving that production in Europe, in France really is possible!”

When Renault 5 was launched in 1972, it turned heads with its original and modern design. Its plastic bumpers, brightly colored bodywork and headlights gave it a mischievous, almost human look. Positioned to reflect the changing face of society, it was an immediate hit with French buyers, particularly women and young people, a new customer base for the time. It was a breath of fresh air, symbolizing freedom and joie de vivre.

New Renault 5 E-Tech EV to feature 3Dprint@flins accessories, 3D printed on demand at the Group's Refactory facility in Flins

So how do you revive an icon whose popularity has never waned? What’s the best way to turn it into a new object of desire, not only for those who remember the adventure of the original Renault 5, but also for younger generations with different expectations, in a world in the throes of an electric and digital transition? What values should inform this rebirth? These are just some of the questions that guided the work of the project team, from visual aspects through to the development and launch of this new Renault 5 for the 21st century.

The design team had a lot to play with. They took a deeply emotive approach to their work, adopting a ‘retrofuturistic’ style. Bright colors, headlamps with a cheeky look, vertical rear lights, sculpted wings, a colored roof trim, vent grille on the bonnet and more: Renault 5 E-Tech electric makes many nods to the mischievous style of its predecessor. The idea was to give a fresh twist to the details that live on in people’s minds, in keeping with the 21st century and the electric transition.

New Renault 5 E-Tech EV to feature 3Dprint@flins accessories, 3D printed on demand at the Group's Refactory facility in Flins

The 3D printed accessories are intended to give a personal touch to Renault 5’s interior, with 3 designs (numbeR5, loveR5, witch 5) available for both the small and large central storage compartment, in 2 different color options (blue, grey). It’s not much in terms of final parts but it’s a lot of printed items if you multiply each part by the number of Renault 5 units that the company can potentially sell.

“We used pieces of collective memory that we translated in a very contemporary way to create the R5 of tomorrow. We didn’t want the Renault 5 E-Tech Electric to feel nostalgic or vintage. We wanted to trigger emotion and create a vibrant, energetic, and POP car,“ said Gilles Vidal, VP Design, Renault & Ampere

The vent grille on the bonnet of the original car has been reinvented to keep up with the times. Today, it is a charge indicator in the form of the iconic number 5. When the driver approaches the vehicle, it lights up, illustrating the close interaction between human and machine. Another example of a humanized interface is the welcome sequence of the pupil-shaped LED headlights, which ‘wink’ at the driver. Absent from the original Renault 5 but essential today for optimal efficiency are the aerodynamic features. Today, they are present but invisible, like the streamlined glass placed over the rear lights to optimize the airflow.

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based VoxelMatters. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites and, as well as VoxelMatters Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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