Currently reading: Report: Renault and Volkswagen could collaborate on £17,000 EVs
European giants reportedly in early talks about their respective plans to launch small, cheap electric cars this decade

The Volkswagen Group is seeking a partner for the joint development of a circa-£17,000 electric car, according to a new report, which cites Renault as one potential collaborator.

German trade publication Handelsblatt reported that Volkswagen was in “very early” talks with Renault on the subject, citing sources said to be familiar with the matter.

Volkswagen and its partner firm – which is yet to be decided – could produce a combined 200,000-250,000 cars per year, added the newspaper.

Spokespeople for Renault and the Volkswagen Group declined to comment.

Each firm has already detailed its own plans to produce an affordable, mass-market EV, with Volkswagen looking to launch the ID 1 in the coming years and Renault developing a production version of the reborn Twingo concept. 

Volkswagen Group chief financial officer Arno Antlitz said in June that the German giant was working “full steam ahead” to develop an EV priced at around €20,000 (£17,000).

Volkswagen ID2all underpinnings sketch

Speaking on the larger, €25,000 (£22,500) ID 2, Antlitz added that raw material costs would be key.

He said: “[We have also seen a slight] improvement or relief on the raw material cost. Look at lithium: it came down. Nickel came down. So from this perspective, we’re quite confident that we can achieve that €25,000 target and, at the same time, have a decent margin.”

The ID 1 was planned to use an all-new architecture, with Skoda understood to be playing a key role in this platform’s development, but little detail is yet known.

The future of the ID 1 project has more recently faced uncertainty. In November, Volkswagen Group CEO Oliver Blume told a conference in Berlin that he believed it would be possible to produce a €20,000 EV by the second half of the decade but that VW had yet to make a final decision on the project.

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The firm is currently undergoing a wide-reaching cost-cutting initiative: Volkswagen brand boss Thomas Schäfer is reported to have announced a three-year programme to save €10 billion (£8.6bn), with measures including job cuts.

It followed Schäfer’s July proclamations that “the roof is on fire” and that the brand was “letting the costs run too high in many areas”.

This could indicate a need to streamline existing development programmes with a focus on cost efficiency.

The Volkswagen Group has form for sharing platforms with other firms: Ford is using its MEB EV platform for the new Explorer and an adjacent model, tipped to revive the Capri name. 

Ford Explorer driving up Goodwood Festival of Speed hill – front

The next Twingo, on the other hand, is tipped to become a production car by 2026, priced below €20,000 or €100 (£85) per month.

Key to this low cost will be the focus on efficiency (Renault claims the Twingo will yield 6.2mpkWh), rather than a large battery.

The use of the Renault Group's Ampr Small platform (previously called CMF-BEV) should help to further reduce its price, with economies of scale provided by its use under the upcoming Renault 5Renault 4 and Nissan Micra.

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However, Renault Group chief Luca de Meo has hinted that the French firm could use an outside partner to help develop the Twingo.

Renault Twingo concept – front quarter

He said: “We're confident in its potential to be a real game‑changer because we know we have a great track record with these kinds of projects.

“Last but not least, we have ongoing discussions with OEM partners to share the development costs."

He hinted that the Twingo could help Renault to win over buyers who might otherwise consider Chinese cars, with technology and infotainment suited to tech-hungry buyers.

De Meo said that the Twingo would match those Chinese alternatives on price.

The cheapest electric car currently on sale in the UK is the BYD Dolphin, priced from £26,140. It will next year face stiff competition from the Citroën e-C3, which is tipped to launch at £22,000-£23,000.

Charlie Martin

Charlie Martin Autocar
Title: Editorial Assistant, Autocar

As a reporter, Charlie plays a key role in setting the news agenda for the automotive industry. He joined Autocar in July 2022 after a nine-month stint as an apprentice with sister publication, What Car?. He's previously contributed to The Intercooler, and placed second in Hagerty’s 2019 Young Writer competition with a feature on the MG Metro 6R4

He is the proud owner of a Fiat Panda 100HP, and hopes to one day add a lightweight sports car like an Alpine A110 or a Lotus Elise S1 to his collection.

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dipole 11 December 2023

The VW New Small Platform(Up/Citigo/Mii)cost VW a billion or more.  Just refitting the Factory in Slovakia alledgedly cost near 400 million Euro.  That is an awful lot of sunk costs to recover and the profit isn't there on a small car.  What VW do know from the UP is that they can sell about 80,000 to 100,000 of them in E.U. each year at a premium of about 600 to 800 euro per unit over a Citigo by just putting the VW logo on the front and they can  maybe provide the finance package to consumers to churn more profit.

As a VW and Renault Shareholder I'd be happier to see VW using the Twingo platform so that dividends can be paid to me from both.

russ13b 11 December 2023

Another project for VW to back out of half way through.

Is it Just Me 11 December 2023

Check out Autocars 7th December article about Stellantis and battery swapping in electric cars, wouldn’t that also maybe an ideal thing to do in electric city cars meaning no requirement for public chargers or off street home charging, just a thought I realise not without challenges to achieve but possible.