Renault is belatedly expanding its electric model range. The 4,20 meter long Mégane E-Tech lets its customers choose between two battery sizes, has a range of up to 470 kilometers and competes primarily against the VW ID 3 and the French local rivals Peugeot and Citroën.
Not so long ago basked Renault in electro heaven. The compact Zoe was the first serious e-car from Europe together with the BMW i2013 in 3 and has consistently led the sales charts. The Twingo electric city car was added a little later. Renault has sold a good 400.000 electric cars to date. Now the next step is finally coming, families and their luggage and much longer distances are now in focus. The French rely on a familiar name. The Golf competitor Mégane, which has been a fixture in the compact segment for many years, is now also available as a real electric car with the addition "E-Tech" at prices starting at 35.200 euros.
The Frenchman rolls on a special platform that is now used jointly by the Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi families for various models. The substructure makes it possible to push the two pairs of wheels far to the outer edges of the body. Since the extremely flat battery pack, which is only 11 centimeters high, disappears into the basement, there is a level, fairly low floor over the entire length of the Mégane.
Therefore, before the first test tour, a seat test in the rear is tempting. It is amazing that in the French car, which is only 4,20 meters long, there is almost 21 centimeters of air between the kneecap of the back bench and the back of the front seat. Despite the upper body line sloping backwards, the clear space between the hair and the headliner is even suitable for hat wearers. However, longer passengers have to tilt their heads and backs significantly forward when boarding due to the roof shape projecting into the side in order to reach the rear seats without a headache. Only then can the lush feeling of space be enjoyed.
Snuggling knees is the order of the day
No problem, however, for the front passengers who quickly learn to appreciate the new airiness of a Renault. The tunnel barrier between the seats has gotten quite flat, the selector lever for the automatic input has moved behind the steering wheel. Knee cuddling with a passenger is therefore possible. The visual statement of the two monitors is impressive. Depending on the equipment, the upright central display is up to 30,5 centimeters high and merges with the instrument cluster behind the steering wheel in the upper left corner. The resulting lying "L" forms an area of 774 square centimeters. A little Tesla feeling and a new record in the compact class.
The start button is on the right behind the wheel, a gentle press wakes up the battery and opens a kind of light show on the two screens. Their brightness reconciles with the otherwise very dark ambience of the interior. The Mégane starts to move, humming quietly like all e-cars, and a specially composed, law-abiding driving noise warns unwary pedestrians. In the test Renault, a 60 kW/h battery provides the necessary energy to feed the 160 kW/218 electric motor.
Power versus equipment
One could have been satisfied with the more modest 93 kW/131 hp version. According to the data sheet, the range is 20 kilometers longer (470 instead of 450 km), sprints three seconds slower to 10,5 km/h in 100 seconds and delivers a sixth less torque at 250 Nm. Surprisingly, less power costs a thousand extra (42.700 euros), but this is due to the better equipment compared to the powerhouse. It remains a little puzzling why Renault wants to lure its customers into the more powerful model.
Be that as it may, the first few meters make it clear that our Mégane confidently handles every driving situation. Whether gliding quietly through Marbella, which is still poor in tourists and almost completely free of traffic jams, on the winding Spanish country roads with their hilly ups and downs, or on the autobahn, where the nationwide speed limit of 120 km/h demands less of the battery than is to be expected in Germany. Recuperation, the severity of which is determined in four stages using a shift paddle on the steering wheel, comes into its own off the high-speed lane.
Only in congested traffic or through built-up areas can the energy be recovered in such a way that the brake pedal hardly has to be used. But this needs to be practiced in order to come to a stop at a red traffic light without touching the left pedal. Driving fun in the electric age.
Emission-free and suitable for travel
Such a Mégane, which is at least locally emission-free, quickly turns out to be a problem-free motorhome in practice, spoiled with a middle ground between the necessary tautness and pleasant comfort on all routes. The steering takes getting used to, although it needs less turning work for a 180-degree turn, it wants to be intercepted sensitively when you tackle tight corners more quickly.
I don't want to be a sports car at all
In fact, French cars have long since ceased to be sedans, but they do not claim to have the distinctive sportiness of the fading combustion engine era. If you are a typical e-driver and don’t want to be agitated and don’t want to weave through corners at the limit of adhesion, a Mégane is the best choice. And thanks to the acceleration power of the electric motor, you always have the security of quickly leaving a truck on the country road to the right.
The balance sheet at the end of a Mégane day reveals plenty of light and relatively little shadow. After its success with the Zoe, Renault has also reached the higher spheres of the new age. Whereby the quite proud price of the test Renault of 41.700 euros is currently sweetened by the total subsidy of 9.570 euros. Those who manage with a range of 300 kilometers and make do with the 40 kWh battery pay 35.200 euros (subsidized 25.630 euros) for the entry-level model. However, this can only be charged with a maximum of 4,6 kW, so it can be connected to the wall box for up to 10 hours and 40 minutes. The possibility of docking the "small" battery to columns with a capacity of up to 85 kWh can be paid for by Renault with a surcharge of a good 1.800 euros.
Five-door, five-seater compact hatchback; Length: 4,20 meters, width without exterior mirrors: 1,77 meters (with exterior mirrors 2,06 m), height: 1,51 meters, wheelbase: 2,69 meters, trunk volume: 440 - 1.392 liters
Electric motor with 160 kW/218 hp, liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery with 60 kWh, torque 300 Nm, front-wheel drive, 0-100 km/h: 7,4 s, Vmax: 160 km/h. Power consumption: 16,1 kWh/100 km (WLTP), CO2 emissions: 0 g/km, range: 450 km (WLTP). Charging times to 100 percent: 30 hours 28 minutes at 2,3 kW (domestic socket). 17 h 51 min at 3,7 kW, 6 h 25 min at 11 kW wall box. 3 h 10 min at 22 kW, 1 h 14 min at DC fast charger 130 kW, efficiency class: A+++, Price: from EUR 41.700
Renault Megane E-Tech EV 60 130 HP
Electric motor with 96 kW/131 hp, maximum torque: 250 Nm. Lithium-ion battery with 60 kWh, front-wheel drive, 0-100 km/h: 10,5 s, Vmax: 150 km/h, power consumption 15,5 kWh/100 km, CO2 emissions: 0 g/km, range after WLTP: 470 km. Charging times like 22 to 100 percent: 30 hours 28 minutes at 2,3 kW (domestic socket). 17 h 51 min at 3,7 kW, 6 h 25 min at 11 kW wall box. 3 h 10 min at 22 kW, 1 h 14 min at DC fast charger 130 kW. Efficiency class: A+++, Price: from 42.700 euros.
Renault Mégane E-Tech EV 40 130 HP:, 96 kW/131 PS, maximum torque 250 Nm, battery with 40 kWh, front-wheel drive, 0 -100 km/h: 10,0 s, Vmax: 150 km/h. Electricity consumption according to WLPT: 15,8 kWh/100 km, CO2 emissions: 0 g/km, range according to WLTP: 300 km. Charging power max. 4,6 kW. Shorter charging times than 60 kWh battery, efficiency class: A+++, Price: from 35.200 euros (higher charging capacity up to 85 kW for an additional charge of 1.800 euros)
Why: because even the smaller Zoe was convincing
Why not: because the entry-level model with a smaller battery and long charging times is disappointing
What else: VW ID3, Hyundai Ionic 5, Kia EV6, Citroën ë-C4 Electric, Peugeot e 2008
When does he come: in shop windows from May, on the street from June