Renault was early in the EV field, but until now did not have a full-fledged electric family car in the house. That will change with this Renault Mégane E-Tech Electric.
- Electric crossover for Mégane family
- 40 or 60 kWh, range up to 470 kilometres
- Arrows aimed at Volkswagen ID3
- Can be ordered from February, on the market in spring 2022
The Mégane E-Tech Electric is Renault’s first electric offer in the so-called C-segment, the compact middle class. In technical terms, the car therefore clearly takes a big step forward compared to the much smaller (and older) Zoe, and rests on the brand new CMF-EV platform that the Nissan Ariya also uses. Yet it is not simply Renault’s version of that car. The Mégane is in fact quite a bit smaller and measures only 4.21 meters in length, compared to 4.60 for the Ariya. The wheelbase is eight centimeters shorter at 2.70 and the Renault is also 16 centimeters lower than the Nissan, for a total of 1.50 meters. The Mégane E-Tech is therefore not so much an alternative to an ID4, Enyaq or EV6, but rather has the Volkswagen ID3 in its sights.
40 or 60 kWh
This clear positioning is also reflected in the powertrain range. The 218 hp electric motor that drives the front wheels (!) in the basic version of the Ariya can still be found in the top version at Renault. This variant sprints from 0 to 100 in 7.4 seconds and has a top speed of 160 km/h. In this case, the battery pack has a usable capacity of 60 kWh, good for a theoretical range of 470 km. However, if you want to spend less, Renault can also go to a considerably more modest basic version. It has no more than 130 hp and in principle has a battery pack of 40 kWh, although there will also be a business version that combines the large battery with the small engine. With 40 kWh, the Mégane is about 300 km away. That is not so impressive in today’s EV landscape, but it is quite in line with the entry-level version of the Volkswagen ID3. The ID3 Pure has 45 kWh on board and, in theory, it travels 351 km. The Mégane E-Tech Electric EV60, as Renault calls the thicker version, is a nice rival for the ID3 with 58 kWh. Charging is also faster at Renault. On a three-phase charger, i.e. on alternating current, this electric Renault also achieves a maximum of 22 kW, where almost every competitor keeps it at 11 kW. On the fast charger, the Mégane achieves a maximum of 130 kW, although it is not yet known what the simpler versions can handle.
The choice for front-wheel drive is striking, because almost every other EV with a new EV platform has rear-wheel drive. However, Renault states that this set-up has all kinds of advantages, including a significantly larger luggage space. A hard comparison in liters between the electric Mégane and the regular Mégane hatchback – (which disappears in the Netherlands by the way) – is unfortunately difficult, because Renault uses a different measuring method for the newcomer. However, both cars would be equally spacious in the back seat, while the E-Tech is really 15 centimeters shorter than a traditional Mégane. The E-Tech cargo hold does not have a double bottom, but it does have a compartment under the floor in which the charging cable can be hidden. Neat, although it is a pity that a ‘frunk’-like luggage space in the nose is missing.
The two-part folding rear seat offers an acceptable amount of space, but also the somewhat uncomfortable seating position that we often see with EVs with the batteries in the bottom. At 1.50 meters, the Mégane E-Tech is also only 5 cm higher than a regular Mégane. Renault therefore calls the car emphatically not an SUV. Even the term ‘crossover’ is only used to indicate that the car has some elements of that, such as the large wheels (18 to 20 inches) and the black fender edges. In practice, however, the Mégane E-tech looks mainly stocky and compact. The low windows and convex flanks give it a somewhat muscular appearance, while the LED lighting units all around are modern and recognizable. This is also the first Renault with the new logo, which will be found on all Renault models in the future.
Just like the body, the interior of the Mégane E-Tech bar has little to do with the regular Mégane. In fact, almost every part is new and different from other Renaults, although the style is still recognizable. The steering wheel, control levers, climate control buttons and even the seats have been redesigned and have a clean, rectilinear shape. Renault is also introducing an all-new infotainment system, which is expected to launch in 2021. Renault opts (just like Volvo/Polestar) for an Android system developed by Google and that has great advantages. For example, there is Google Maps, which, thanks to a sophisticated collaboration with the car, should be able to accurately predict where, when and for how long it needs to be charged. It is also possible to add apps yourself, the collaboration with your smartphone is quickly arranged thanks to the linking of accounts and the screen is logically laid out and lightning fast.
It’s also big by the way. Renault combines a 12.3-inch screen behind the wheel with a maximum 12-inch vertical screen in the middle, in a single L-shaped glass panel. It is nice that the climate control operation still gets physical buttons, albeit now in the form of toggle switches. Simpler versions of the Mégane E-Tech have a horizontally placed 9-inch screen and will undoubtedly have a slightly different center console. The control for the direction of travel is on the steering column, so that there is space between the seats for all kinds of cup holders and storage compartments.
Renault was one of the first brands with a somewhat serious EV in 2011, although we can hardly call the Renault Fluence ZE that by today’s standards. In 2012, however, the Zoe followed and with that model the brand is doing good business to this day. With a market share of no less than 13 percent, the Zoe was even the most popular EV in Europe in 2020. This makes it all the more striking that until now Renault had not had a suitable answer to cars such as the Kia e-Niro, Hyundai Kona Electric and Volkswagen’s MEB models, but this new Mégane will definitely change that. That is no longer possible with a 12 percent addition, because Renault will only receive orders from February. The actual market launch will follow later in the spring.