Renault doesn’t want an introduction. It began working in direction of electrical mobility in earnest over 20 years in the past. Yep, that’s earlier than Tesla was based. On the gatherings of the Earth’s mighty, just like the well-known one in Davos, its CEO was introduced as “Mister EV.” Its Zoe mannequin was the perfect promoting BEV in Europe, with simply over 100,000 automobiles delivered in 2020.
Alas, these glory days are over. New administration has tried to go the best way of PHEVs on the identical time that the market is saying goodbye to this know-how. They’re dabbling in hydrogen gas cell know-how as a potential various for battery electrics. The one a part of transport the place there’s a theoretical area of interest for HFCEV powertrains, heavy trucking, was way back offered to Volvo.
The successor for the growing old Zoe is predicted in 2024, a retro mannequin that hopefully will obtain a form reception in Renault’s homeland of France. The Twingo ZE is a fun-to-drive little metropolis automobile. It suffers from a battery that’s too small and no DC quick charging, making it solely match for city use. Upgrading it with an even bigger battery and bettery charging system from cousin Dacia Spring might double or triple gross sales.
Start of the BEV
Renault and Alliance companions Nissan and Mitsubishi developed a brand new devoted battery electrical automobile (BEV) platform for the C-/D-segment. This CMF-EV modular toolkit is predicted to be the platform for not less than 15 fashions the Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance is bringing to market later on this decade. The primary two fashions are the Renault Megane E-Tech totally electrical and Nissan Ariya.
Renault did name its hybrid and plug-in hybrid fashions E-Tech fashions and the totally electrical fashions Z.E. or Zero Emission fashions. Now the moniker E-Tech is used for all “electrified” fashions. It’s a means of complicated the purchasers. It’s most likely from a advertising and marketing drone considering it might probably promote one model on the status of one other model, not realizing that individuals wish to know what they’re shopping for, and that complicated your prospects isn’t good for gross sales.
The CMF-EV toolkit incorporates two battery modules, one with a 63kWh battery and one with a 87kWh battery. These are the batteries you will discover within the Ariya. The Renault advertising and marketing whizz-kids determined that for Europe, batteries of 40kWh and 60kWh can be ok.
They even had the intense thought of providing the 40kWh model with out DC quick charging. This configuration was not welcome in most (all?) international locations.
The Renault engineers have demonstrated that they do know what it’s to construct an electrical automobile. On many elements, they labored along with the Renault F1 group. Evidently all the pieces that was not beneath management of the advertising and marketing division is superb.
It was second in final 12 months’s European Automobile of the Yr competitors, proper between the Kia and Hyundai new fashions. It scored on all of the metrics that old skool automobile journalists worth. The general public is much less impressed by it. The small battery and weak motor will not be what folks search for in C-segment automobiles. Many rivals have batteries which can be 40%+ greater.
- Battery — 40/60kWh, with about 158/208 miles of vary.
- Motor — 96/160kW and 250/300Nm, front-wheel drive.
- Charging — 90/150kW DC and 22kW AC.
- Security — Euro NCAP ***** (5 stars)
- Size * Width * Peak — 165.4” * 73.2” * 59.3”
There may be some confusion concerning the dimension of the battery. There’s a nominal and a usable dimension with most batteries. The distinction is usually 5% to 10%. Renault makes use of the identical quantity for each. EV-Database thinks it’s 55kWh for the larger battery. If the Megane is as environment friendly as claimed, the battery dimension is 55kWh.
Adaptive cruise management, prolonged parking help, and a warmth pump are all choices, some solely obtainable on the upper trim ranges. A lot of the competitors have some or all of those as commonplace, not less than within the greater trim ranges.
It’s a driver’s automobile. That’s what the critics agree on. The affect of the F1 specialists and the selection to go for a automobile as shut as potential to an ICE automobile ends in a light-weight and easy-to-drive automobile. But it surely sacrifices vary.
Getting used to my Zoe, the 10-year-older, but smaller, sister of the Megane, I didn’t discover a lot distinction in driving expertise. That’s unhappy.
In my driving type, the load of the automobile isn’t essential, the suppleness is. The Mercedes EQS and the Volvo C40 have been clearly higher driving machines, as was the MG5. However then once more, I’m not a automobile journalist. Driving automobiles is simply not thrilling to me. Relaxed touring is what I like.
Using bikes — now, that’s totally different. On two wheels, going by way of a nook, driving alongside a river dyke with no straight stretch longer than 10 meters — that’s enjoyable. That’s like dancing on two wheels. It’s important to discover the rhythm that’s proper for the street and your velocity. However alas, I’m too outdated for that type of enjoyable.
Infotainment & Driving Help
Renault and Nissan have been each creating their very own infotainment and driving help methods. Merging two totally different methods is concerning the worst you are able to do in IT growth. Discarding one and selecting the opposite was a non-starter after the civil warfare between the events. There may be now an armistice, and peace appears attainable.
They did the smart factor, discarding each methods and continuing with a ready-made system from a software program firm. Google was the fortunate one chosen to promote its suite of automotive methods to the Alliance. That makes my assessment of the infotainment system very straightforward. Most individuals know extra about Google performance than I do.
The driving help methods are prime notch. However it’s important to pay further for them. It’s important to spend not less than €3,000 on prime of the record worth. For a pleasant coloration or flashy rims, €5,000 is in sight.
As one of many unique pioneers of electrical driving, Renault didn’t should look to Tesla. It had its personal expertise and excellent relations with a number of seasoned automobile journalists. However these journalists don’t criticize the hand that feeds them. When Tesla confirmed its Mannequin 3 to the general public, the general public was current and future Tesla drivers. Earlier than the night time was over, it was clear that the trunk was not simply accessible. The promise to proper this incorrect was made inside just a few days. The trunk of the Megane is simply virtually accessible for weight lifters. The brink is simply too excessive. Older folks and smaller females could have hassle getting their groceries or baggage out and in.
Don’t attempt to go on vacation with this automobile. It doesn’t have the vary it wants. Even with the quick charging, it will likely be hopping from charging station to charging station. Its effectivity is by advantage of its low mass. Totally loaded, you lose that benefit, however you might be caught with the tiny battery.
When making an attempt to make a totally electrical automobile that is rather like a fossil gas automobile, there may be the danger of ending up with the worst of each worlds. Renault ought to neglect about its F1 experience, and the enjoyment of driving an Alpine two-seat sports activities automobile. Cease listening to journalists that drive for enjoyable. Most prospects are searching for a spot to outlive just a few hours of every day visitors jams and attain a trip vacation spot with out the children killing one another.
I used to be one of many first to drive the unique Megane Scénic. I’ve had three of them. I liked my Twingo, similar to my spouse liked hers and my parents-in-law liked theirs. I’m nonetheless glad to drive my Zoe (the three-year anniversary was two days in the past) and count on to take action for an additional two years. I’m not an entire Renaultofile (Renault lover), however I prefer it much more than BMW, Audi, or Toyota. Simply to call just a few uninteresting manufacturers.
I actually don’t perceive what Renault is doing in the intervening time. The gross sales numbers and market indicators ought to be a really sturdy incentive to vary the present coverage of pleasing journalists and regulators however ignoring prospects.
Listed here are some extra images of the Renault Megane E-Tech:
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