Revealed as a concept car in October, 2020, the first all-electric Renault in the European small family car segment will be the Megane E-Tech Electric.
It will be based on the new Renault/Nissan CMF-EV modular platform that also underpins the Nissan Ariya, and a fleet of 30 pre-production Renault Megane E-Tech Electrics is about to begin testing on the open road in France.
The pre-production versions are not too dissimilar in looks to the concept shown at the launch of the concept late last year. Howeverm there appear to be a few ‘rough edges’ to be sorted yet for the production version, such as the rather tacked-on front Renault badge.
Another of these is the mildly worrying placement of the charging port in the test vehicles – at the rear of the right-hand side front guard (European passenger side).
If that carries through to the production version, and more particularly to right-hand drive (RHD) models, there could be many places here where the charging lead will simply not reach the socket! (As it would be on the driver’s side, and well away from kerbside charging outlets).
Hopefully the production version will either see the charge port back in the nose – as is done for the current Renault Zoe, Kangoo and Nissan Leaf, as well as in the next generation Kangoo, or moved to the passenger side, as is done in RHD versions of the Nissan Ariya.
The new electric Megane will have a 60kWh battery driving the front wheels, with an estimated WLTP range of around 450km. Charging will be up to 22kW AC and 130kW DC. This should place the base model EV Megane slightly under the Ariya in price and specification as the Ariya has a standard 65kWh (or optional 90kWh) battery.
At 4210 mm long and 1800mm wide, the electric Megane is placed in size between the Hyundai Kona electric (4205mm) and the Kia e-Niro (4375mm), but somewhat shorter than its step-sibling, the 4595mm long Nissan Ariya.
Mind-you, the Ariya parts bin does give Renault options for higher spec electric Meganes with the readily available larger batteries and/or more powerful two-wheel or all-wheel drive systems already developed as options for the Ariya.
Information about interior of the electric Megane is still limited, however recent teaser images released by Renault show a minimalist dash layout with plenty of touchscreen action.
The Megane badge is touted to be the first Renault model range to move to ‘electric only’ as part of the ‘Renaulution’. (The Renaulution plan involves twenty-five new models to be introduced across all Groupe Renault marques by 2025, ten of which will be full electric).
The official launch of the production version is expected to happen late this year or early 2022, with European sales to begin sometime in the second half of 2022.
Interestingly, provided the Megane E-Tech Electric is made available to the UK market (the sole right-hand drive market in Europe), this means it would become an option for bringing to Australia.
While the new distributor of Renault in Australia (ATECO) won’t currently confirm any upcoming models for Australia – they did reply with: “…we are looking at all products made available to right-hand drive markets, and will communicate more in due course.”
Bryce Gaton is an expert on electric vehicles and contributor for The Driven and Renew Economy. He has been working in the EV sector since 2008 and is currently working as EV electrical safety trainer/supervisor for the University of Melbourne. He also provides support for the EV Transition to business, government and the public through his EV Transition consultancy EVchoice.