Renault’s long-running small car icon has been reinvented for the electric era, with a trendy SUV shape and electric power.
The 2022 Renault Megane E-Tech Electric has been unveiled at the Munich motor show – though the brand’s local division remains silent on the prospects of an Australian launch.
While the new Megane might share its name with the small petrol-powered hatchback sold by Renault in Australia for two decades, the new E-Tech Electric is an all-new car, riding on the Renault-Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance’s dedicated ‘CMF-EV’ electric architecture, and taking the shape of a more popular, higher-riding small SUV.
The first dedicated Renault electric vehicle (EV) in a decade, the new Megane E-Tech Electric – officially known as the “Megane E-Tech 100% Electric” – will be the first in a line of eight new Renault EVs by 2025, from the city-sized Renault 5 reboot to full-size commercial vans.
The new small car-turned-SUV draws nearly all of its styling cues from the Megane eVision concept revealed in 2020, with an ‘inflated’ hatchback shape, large alloy wheels (measuring up to 20 inches in diameter), and a distinctive Z-shaped flowing LED light signature up front, with adaptive LED headlights. Smooth surfacing enables a drag coefficient of 0.29.
Renault’s new retro-inspired logo features front and rear, while other styling highlights include a slim full-width LED tail-light bar across the rear, flush-fitting front door handles, ‘hidden’ rear door handles (in the C-pillar), yellow-accented ‘MEGANE’ badging, and up to 30 different single- and dual-tone paint combinations.
Inside, the new Megane E-Tech Electric debuts a new ‘Open-R’ infotaInment system for the Renault brand, powered by Google’s Android Automotive operating system, and offering satellite navigation, over-the-air updates and various Google services.
The new system is housed within a choice of 9.0- or 12-inch screens, combined into one curved black panel with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster.
Other interior features include a choice of two Arkamys or one nine-speaker, 410-watt Harman Kardon sound system, 48-colour ambient lighting (that can change colour every 30 minutes for a “living” feel), and a selection of sustainably-sourced wood, Alcantara suede and textile trims for the dashboard, seats and other interior elements (though genuine leather seats are still available).
The new Megane E-Tech Electric measures in at around 4210mm long, 1770-1780mm wide and 1500mm high, riding on a 2700mm wheelbase – similar overall length and width dimensions to Renault’s petrol-powered Captur ‘light’ SUV, but around 80mm lower and 60mm longer in wheelbase, thanks to its electric platform.
Meanwhile, a petrol-powered Megane RS hot hatch measures 4364mm long, 1875mm wide and 1435mm high, sitting on a 2670mm wheelbase.
Under the skin sits the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance’s latest CMF-EV dedicated electric platform, which debuts a new ‘ultra-thin’ 110mm-thick battery said to be 40 per cent thinner than the unit in the existing Zoe electric hatch sold in Europe, yet offer 20 per cent greater energy density. The centre of gravity is also 90mm lower than that of a Megane hatch.
The new electric platform pays dividends inside the cabin, where Renault says interior dimensions (namely overall length, and the distance between passengers) in the new SUV are similar to the combustion-engined Megane hatch, despite a 150mm-shorter body. Rear passenger knee-room is rated at 21cm, an increase over the current hatchback.
European buyers will be able to choose between one of two front-mounted electric motors, developing 96kW/250Nm or 160kW/300Nm – with the latter good for a 7.4-second dash from zero to 100km/h, and a limited top speed of 160km/h.
A choice of 40kWh or 60kWh batteries will be offered on the Continent, enabling a driving range according to Europe’s WLTP test cycle of 300km with the smaller pack, or up to 470km with the larger unit. Renault guarantees that if either battery offers less than 70 per cent of its original capacity after eight years, the pack will be replaced free of charge.
DC fast charging at up to 130kW is available, capable of adding up to 300km of WLTP range in 30 minutes. AC charging via a 2.3kW (10-amp) domestic socket or 22kW (32-amp three-phase) public charging station is also available, the latter claimed to add 160km of range in an hour.
Other powertrain highlights include four modes of regenerative braking and four selectable drive modes, plus multi-link independent rear suspension and a fast 12:1 power steering ratio that make the new Renault the “GTI of electric vehicles”, according to CEO Luca de Meo. Kerb weight is rated at 1624kg.
Up to 26 driver-assistance systems are available, including adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, lane-following assist (which can function with lane markings on only one side), lane-keeping assist, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, front and rear autonomous emergency braking, safe exit warning, automatic parking, a digital rear-view mirror, and a 3D-view 360-degree camera.
Production of the 2022 Renault Megane E-Tech Electric is thought to commence in early 2022 for European markets.
Speaking to Drive, a spokesperson for Renault Australia’s local importer Ateco said the brand is “across all new product available to [Australia] as a right-hand drive market”, but couldn’t confirm the model for local showrooms.
Should the new Megane E-Tech Electric get the green light for Australia, expect to see it in local showrooms in the second half of 2022.