Renault Megane E-Tech heralds electric future for French family hatchback

New model to offer up to 292 miles of range and wide use of sustainable materials

Renault has revealed that the next version of its Megane family hatchback will be the first in its next generation of all-electric vehicles.

The Megane E-Tech Electric will lead the introduction of Generation 2.0 as the brand moves to an electric future. Based on the Renault-Nissan Alliance’s CMF-EV platform, it will be the first new model built at Renault’s “ElectriCity” facility in northern France.

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Resembling the Megane eVision concept, Renault is still calling the Megane a hatchback but there is more of a chunky SUV feel to the new design. At 4.21m long it’s shorter than the current generation but Renault says the EV architecture allows it to offer a longer wheelbase and more interior space.

Much of the Megane’s smooth shape has been designed to aid aerodynamics, down to the pop-out door handles which help reduce drag.

Inside Reanult’s new “OpenR” display arrangement uses a single screen in the shape of an inverted L to offer combined digital instruments and a 12-inch central infotainment touchscreen with a new operating system underpinned by Google’s Android Automotive.

Moving away from traditional dark plastics, Renault says the Megane E-Tech will come with a range of textile, wood and faux leather finishes as well as leather and Alcantara. In some models 100 per cent of the upholstery will be made from recycled plastic, along with more than 27kg of interior plastic panels and trims.

The new Megane E-Tech will be offered with two drivetrain options - a 128bhp motor with 40kWh battery (badged EV40) and a 217bhp version with a 60kWh battery (EV60). Both will also be offered with 7kW or 22kW AC charging while higher-spec cars will also feature up to 130kW DC charging.

Renault says EV40 models will cover up to 186 miles on a charge while EV60s will be capable of up to 292 miles. As part of its vision of the Megane as a “vehicle as a service” the new model will be also capable of vehicle-to-grid integration.

Thanks to advances in battery and motor technology, Renault says it has managed to make the Megane’s drivetrain lighter and more energy efficient than in older EVs such as the Zoe. Smart monitoring of the battery status means the liquid cooling can be stepped up just before a charge to reduce overheating problems and the car features a new heat pump and ventilation system to use less battery power to heat and cool the car’s interior.

A thinner battery pack has helped lower the centre of gravity over the combustion engined car and Renault says that combined with sharp steering and carefully tuned multilink suspension the Megane will offer class-leading agility and direct handling.