To further develop and fine-tune the future electric Renault 5, Renault experts are currently testing its first nine prototypes.
Known as mules, their platform, power train and battery are technically the same as the future production vehicle. With a design based on the Clio silhouette, the mules do not yet look like the future model. A keen pair of eyes will also notice that these mules have a recharge hatch.
Alternating between static and dynamic fine-tuning and endurance testing, the mules are being put through their paces this winter in low grip (ice, snow) conditions in Arvidsjaur (Swedish Lapland) as well as average-to-high grip conditions at the Renault technical centres in Lardy (greater Paris area) and Aubevoye (Normandy).
The Renault site in Aubevoye is unique in that it has the means and cutting-edge tools to reproduce any types of stress vehicles will be put through at the hands of customers: 613 hectares, 35 tracks covering 60km, 42 test lines, 2 wind tunnels, 18 corrosion chambers, all hidden within 272 hectares of forest to shield the prototypes from prying eyes.
Testing carried out not far from the Arctic Circle in the Arvidsjaur region in the far north of Sweden is ideal for putting the vehicle under extreme stress. A land of ice and frozen lakes, where some winter days nudge -30°C with almost unbearable howling winds. The vehicle's mechanical performance is put to the test to make sure that the future electric Renault 5 mules can withstand such temperatures and conditions. The engine along with other parts – including the batteries – are placed under close surveillance. Checks are also carried out on the performance of on-board systems such as heating, demisting, and defrosting, and to make sure that the brakes, shock absorbers, and ESC (Electronic Stability Control) perform as they should on snow. Tests are also carried out to make sure that powder snow does not pile up on the brakes, as it may lead to vehicle malfunctions. A vast array of parameters that cannot be replicated in a testing facility, where only real-world cold-weather testing will suffice.