It’s an attractive and efficient electric crossover that previews Renault’s EV technology, that we’ll see on other group cars going forward.
The all-new Megane E-Tech Electric crossover is the next big step in the journey of the electric car for the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Based on Renault’s new CMF-EV platform, itself based on the CMF-C platform (but with a more compact nose, flatter floor and reconfigured suspension), it is a car that will also preview technology we will see on the group’s cars for years to come. What makes the Megane E-Tech even more alluring to us here in India is the fact that the company is considering importing a limited number as a technology demonstrator.
Renault Megane E-Tech Electric: What is it?
On the outside, this is not a car you will confuse easily. With large wheels at each end, a high waist and a low slung roof this car/crossover/SUV has a unique profile. Originally designed as the performance version of the new Megane, senior management liked it so much, it was drafted in for duty as the standard car. There’s no doubt, the clean cut nose looks stunning, the 20-inch wheels provide for a great platform and the ‘arrowhead’ like details on the chin work superbly too. Don’t know about the gold highlights and the rear is a somewhat generic Renault, but go down the road in this and you will be noticed.
Under the skin, this car is front-wheel drive, uses pouch type lithium ion batteries with a capacity of 40kWh or 60kWh, (WLTP range of 450km combined). DC rapid charging can be done at a rate of up to 130kW on the 60kWh model, with around a 70-75 percent charge done in half an hour. The 40kWh model won’t charge as rapidly, but will be able to take 22kW from an AC charger.
Renault Megane E-Tech Electric: How does it drive?
Let’s look at ride and handling first, especially as Renault says this car does particularly well here. And yes, ride comfort immediately is very good. We don’t really feel the weight of the battery, even as we thump over some of Spain’s less than perfect roads, there’s no looseness some EVs momentarily experience and then despite the massive wheels, the feeling of excessive unsprung mass isn’t there either. The big wheels do ‘tap-tap’ over ridges in the road, but this results in no big movement from the long wheelbase, so ride on smaller wheels will be much, much better.
For a wheelbase this long, the Megan E-Tech also turns into corners with a good amount of agility. The car is keen to dive into corners, it responds to more steering lock with enthusiasm and overall feels quite compact. It does roll and this is especially true on switchbacks, but what causes you to really slow down is that accelerating out of a corner sometimes tends to disrupt the front suspension and cause some amount of unexpected vagueness. This, however, is something Renault engineers say will be fixed soon. Still, for a car this long, it does feel particularly agile.
When it comes to performance, the motor used is an 8-pole permanent magnet free set-up. Tap the throttle and the car surges forward effortlessly in Sport, in a smooth and clean manner. The 218hp electric motor in the car we drove can complete the 0-100kph sprint in 7.4sec. There’s no sudden jerk when you get on the throttle, acceleration feels linear even when you get on and off the throttle and then what’s nice is that even in ‘Comfort’, the car doesn’t feel restrained flat-footed when you need to overtake.
The Megane is also relatively efficient in the real world, due to the fact that it is a fair bit lighter than earlier generation electric cars of this size. While we started with the battery at 100 percent and 367km, we ended up with 37 percent and 141km. Correlating with the distance travelled, it would mean a range of roughly 345km, which is quietly impressive and seems to back up Renault’s claim of having a very efficient battery and motor set-up.
Renault Megane E-Tech Electric: What’s it like inside
Very high tech. A massive piece of curved glass makes up the instrument panel, and right next to it is a huge tablet-sized portrait screen running Google Automotive Services. With Google Maps in built and voice assistant on, you sort of don’t really need to sync your phone with the car. The screen itself isn’t as sharp as an iPad, but you don’t need to tap the screen twice or multiple times, and you thankfully do get physical air con control buttons.
What makes the cabin feel very premium is that quality levels on the steering wheel and the surfaces you touch are top class. The chrome and piano black bits are beautifully made and with mood lighting, chromed over buttons and high grain plastic, and this makes the cabin feel extremely upmarket. The textured fake-wood trim isn’t great, but I did like the clever use of moveable stoppers, which effectively prevent your odds and ends from moving around in the long central tunnel like enclosure below the central console.
The cabin is pretty spacious too. There’s a fair amount of legroom in the rear, you are sat sort of high, which is good for visibility. But what you find after sitting there for a bit is that the window line is a bit high and the roofline is a bit low, so you do feel hemmed in a bit. Still two tall adults will be comfy in the back and the flat floor means there’s space for a third too. Even 440-litre boot is deep and fairly practical, as long as you don’t have to lift a heavy bag in. You can split the seats though and then there is much more space.
Renault Megane E-Tech Electric: First Impressions
Attractive, efficient, extremely modern and enjoyable to drive the Megan E-Tech is the way ahead for Renault. So happy is Renault with its new age EV, it is even considering bringing a limited number to India. It wouldn’t be cheap at upwards of Rs 45 lakh and it wouldn’t appeal to everyone; still for those interested in making a statement and doing it with the most modern looking electric car around, the Megane E-Tech could just be it.