Renault Megane E-Tech Electric: thin battery, modest range, looks like a crossover
Renault presented at the Munich Motor Show a very important novelty for the European market – a new generation Megane hatchback with an electric power plant. Spectacular design and modern electronics hide a rather ordinary technical stuffing.
Many Western media dubbed the Renault Megane E-Tech Electric a crossover, although there is no such definition in the official press release. But large 20-inch wheels (18-inch in the base), a visually high waistline, plastic lining on the wheel arches and short overhangs really evoke associations with a crossover. The Megane E-Tech Electric is based on the CMF-EV modular platform, which includes all-wheel drive, but the hatchback does not have it (only the front one) – Renault has yet to have a real crossover on this platform.
With an overall length of 4.21 m, the Megane E-Tech Electric could be classified as a subcompact B-class, but the large wheelbase (2.70 m) still allows us to consider it a C-class model, like its main competitor, the Volkswagen ID. 3. The latter, by the way, recently took the title of best-selling electric car in Europe from Renault Zoe. The task of Megane E-Tech Electric is to return the Renault brand to the first place in the "green" segment.
Megane E-Tech Electric has two power plants. The first is an electric motor with a return of 96 kW (130 hp) and 250 Nm in combination with a 40 kWh battery (power reserve on a single charge – up to 300 km on the WLTP cycle). The second is an electric motor that produces a maximum of 160 kW (218 hp) and 300 Nm, plus a 60 kWh battery (power reserve – up to 470 km). The Volkswagen ID.3 has more battery options: 45, 58 and 77 kWh (power reserve – 330, 420 and 550 km, respectively). The 218-horsepower Megane E-Tech Electric accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.4 seconds, with an electronically limited top speed of 160 km/h. Curb weight – 1624 kg. Permissible weight of the towed trailer – 900 kg.
The layout of the Megane E-Tech Electric is not the most progressive (as, indeed, of the VW ID.3): the power module occupied the entire engine compartment, leaving no room for an additional trunk. The volume of the main trunk is small – 440 liters, and the lower edge of the tailgate opening is a bit high. The charging cable is stored underground, so if the trunk is littered with things, it will have to be unloaded before charging the electric car. The maximum charging power is 130 kW. The rear independent multi-link suspension and classic steering rack instead of the trendy EV-segment control by wire promise good handling in the best European traditions. The intensity of regenerative braking can be adjusted, the maximum level 3 allows you to control the dynamics in one pedal without resorting to the brake pedal.
One of the key advantages of its novelty, Renault considers a thin battery with a thickness of only 110 mm in the floor area – they say, it made it possible to make the interior as spacious as possible. The front panel – with a two-screen display: the left side (12.3-inch) – dashboard, right (9- or 12-inch) – multimedia. The keys outside of these screens are not touch-sensitive, like the VW ID.3, but physical, and in terms of ergonomics and active safety, this is very good. OpenR Link operating system with over-the-air updates is based on Android. Already in the database there are a lot of modern electronic driver assistants and a high-quality Arkamys audio system (the top versions have a more status Harman Kardon). In the interior trim, recycled materials are widely used, the total volume of drawers and shelves for small items is 30 liters.
The Megane E-Tech Electric will be produced at the Renault plant in Douai, France, and the batteries for it will be supplied by the South Korean company LG Chem. Own battery Gigafactory here in Douai will work only in 2024. The start of sales of the electric Megane is scheduled for February next year, while the fourth-generation gasoline, diesel and hybrid Megane remain in service, no one is going to remove them from production yet.