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 one of the best promoting BEV in Europe, with simply over 100,000 autos delivered in 2020.
Alas, these glory days are over. New administration has tried to go the best way of PHEVs on the similar time that the market is saying goodbye to this know-how. They’re dabbling in hydrogen gas cell know-how as a attainable 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 bought to Volvo.
The successor for the ageing 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 automotive. It suffers from a battery that’s too small and no DC quick charging, making it solely match for city use. Upgrading it with a much bigger battery and bettery charging system from cousin Dacia Spring may 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 no 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 method of complicated the purchasers. It’s most likely from a advertising drone pondering it may 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 clients is rarely good for gross sales.
The CMF-EV toolkit accommodates two battery modules, one with a 63kWh battery and one with a 87kWh battery. These are the batteries you could find within the Ariya. The Renault advertising whizz-kids determined that for Europe, batteries of 40kWh and 60kWh can be ok.
They even had the brilliant concept 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 points, they labored along with the Renault F1 crew. Plainly every thing that was not underneath management of the advertising division is great.
It was second in final 12 months’s European Automotive of the Yr competitors, proper between the Kia and Hyundai new fashions. It scored on all of the metrics that old-fashioned automotive journalists worth. The general public is much less impressed by it. The small battery and weak motor are usually not what folks search for in C-segment automobiles. Many opponents have batteries which can be 40%+ larger.
- 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 * Top — 165.4” * 73.2” * 59.3”
There may be some confusion in regards to 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. Many of the competitors have some or all of those as commonplace, no less than within the larger trim ranges.
It’s a driver’s automotive. That’s what the critics agree on. The affect of the F1 consultants and the selection to go for a automotive as shut as attainable to an ICE automotive leads to a lightweight and easy-to-drive automotive. 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 automotive shouldn’t be essential, the suppleness is. The Mercedes EQS and the Volvo C40 had been clearly higher driving machines, as was the MG5. However then once more, I’m not a automotive journalist. Driving automobiles is simply not thrilling to me. Relaxed touring is what I like.
Using bikes — now, that’s completely different. On two wheels, going by means 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 a must to discover the rhythm that’s proper for the highway and your velocity. However alas, I’m too outdated for that sort of enjoyable.
Infotainment & Driving Help
Renault and Nissan had been each growing their very own infotainment and driving help programs. Merging two completely different programs is in regards to the worst you are able to do in IT growth. Discarding one and selecting the opposite was a non-starter after the civil battle between the events. There may be now an armistice, and peace appears to be like attainable.
They did the smart factor, discarding each programs and continuing with a ready-made system from a software program firm. Google was the fortunate one chosen to promote its suite of automotive programs to the Alliance. That makes my evaluation of the infotainment system very straightforward. Most individuals know extra about Google performance than I do.
The driving help programs are prime notch. However it’s a must to pay additional for them. It’s a must to spend no less than €3,000 on prime of the checklist worth. For a pleasant colour or flashy rims, €5,000 is in sight.
As one of many authentic pioneers of electrical driving, Renault didn’t should look to Tesla. It had its personal expertise and ideal relations with a bunch of seasoned automotive 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 can have bother getting their groceries or baggage out and in.
Don’t attempt to go on vacation with this automotive. 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’re caught with the tiny battery.
When making an attempt to make a completely electrical automobile that is rather like a fossil gas automobile, there’s the chance 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 automotive. Cease listening to journalists that drive for enjoyable. Most clients are in search of a spot to outlive just a few hours of day by day site 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 anticipate to take action for one more two years. I’m not a whole 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 for the time being. The gross sales numbers and market alerts must be a really sturdy incentive to alter the present coverage of pleasing journalists and regulators however ignoring clients.
Listed here are some extra pictures of the Renault Megane E-Tech:
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