Renault Megane E-Tech
Renault has finally revealed the final production specification of its all-new Megane E-Tech ahead of its launch next year.
The French newcomer comes with a choice of two battery capacities: 40kWh for a range of 186 miles (WLTP cycle), and 60kWh for a range of up to 292 miles (WLTP cycle, depending on model). The 40-kWh battery is made of 8 modules of 24 cells each, distributed over a single layer. The 60-kWh battery consists of 12 modules of 24 cells each, spread over two layers. In both cases, the battery’s dimensions remain unchanged.
Renault claims the battery pack is the thinnest in the business, which has allowed the designers to create a car that feels far more like a conventional hatchback than an SUV.
The Megane E-Tech is built on the same foundations as the Nissan Ariya, and has been designed from the outset to be an electric car. This means it has a perfectly flat floor and significantly more interior space than the current petrol-powered Megane.
Inside, all upholstery is made out of 100% recycled materials. Depending on the version, that accounts for up to 2.2kg. A total of 27.2 kg of visible and invisible parts are made out recycled plastics. 95% of the vehicle will be recycled at the end of its life. The Megane E-Tech also debuts an all-new infotainment system with what the brand calls OpenR display and OpenR Link technology that has been developed with Google and based on Android Automotive OS.
In terms of performance, the Megane E-Tech’s motor is compact and only weighs 145kg – 10% less than the motor currently used on Zoe, despite a marked increase in both power and torque. Offered in two guises – 130hp and 250Nm, or 218hp and 300Nm – the motor takes the Megane E-Tech Electric from 0 to 62mph in just 7.4 seconds. The Megane E-Tech is equipped with CCS rapid charging and can charge on a DC rapid charger at speeds of up to 130kW. Renault claims that the Megane can add 186 miles of WTLP range in just 30 minutes when hooked up to a 150kW charger. The car is also equipped with intelligent charging capabilities and, ultimately, it will be able to feed power back into the grid when needed thanks to vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology.
Volkswagen ID Buzz (almost)
Volkswagen has teased the appearance of its long-awaited ID. Buzz model by issuing an image of a self-driving prototype undergoing testing. The autonomous driving technology is being developed by Argo AI, an official partner of the Volkswagen Group based in the US.
The first customer of the ID. Buzz with autonomous driving capability will be MOIA – a German-based mobiity brand that is developing and implementing a ridepooling system to avoid individual car traffic and to use the road infrastructure more efficiently.
While this will be of interest to commuters in Hanover and Hamburg, the rest of the world will be keen to see what the vehicle will look like with all the sensors removed. This is our clearest view yet of what the final production ID. Buzz version will resemble when it goes on sale next year.
Mercedes EQE 350
The wraps are officially off another Mercedes all-electric saloon. This is the new Mercedes EQE 350, which will sit below the new EQS in the German brand’s growing all-electric line-up. Although slightly smaller on the outside than the current internal combustion-engined E-Class, it delivers much more interior space thanks to its flat floor and considerably smaller ‘engine’ bay.
Mercedes has confirmed that EQE will be offered with a 90kWh battery pack that will deliver a WLTP range of 410 miles. The EQE 350 will powered by a single rear-mounted electric motor with 288bhp and 530Nm of torque. On the road, that translates to a 0-60mph time of 5.6 seconds and a top speed of 130 mph. Mercedes quotes a rapid DC charging rate of 170kW.
Inside, the EQE can be specified with the same 56-inch Hyperscreen setup first seen in the EQS. It consists of three different curving screens and comes with an Augmented Video feature for navigation. The vehicle’s software can also be updated over-the-air and it comes equipped with the German automaker’s latest driver-assist features.
European market sales are expected to start later this year, with right-hand drive production likely to begin early next year. Expect UK prices to start at around £60,000 when order books open.
Mercedes EQG and Mercedes-Maybach EQS concepts
Along with the production-ready EQE, Mercedes has also unveiled two new concept cars; an all-electric version of the G-Glass that takes the form of the EQG concept, and a Maybach based on the Mercedes EQS.
As is often the case with concept cars, hard facts and specifications are a little thin on the ground, but the mere fact that Mercedes has developed them indicates a desire to embrace the switch to electrification. Unlike the EQE and and EQS, the EQG is based on the existing foundations of the timeless G-Class. However, such is the size of the G-Class that shoehorning in the large 109kWh battery pack from the EQS is unlikely to be a huge engineering problem. However, given that the standard G-Class is already 2.5 tonnes with an internal combustion engine, an electric version is likely to top three tonnes, which, along with its brick-like shape is likely to affect its driving range.
A more likely contender for production is the Mercedes-Maybach EQS. Maybach is the luxury sub-brand owned by Mercedes and is expected to get a new lease of life with the brand’s transition to an all-electric line-up.
The Maybach EQS is based on the foundations of the EQS, but gains a more SUV-like body. Interestingly, Mercedes will offer an SUV version of the EQS later next year, so this is a good indication of how it will look.
As with the EQG, Mercedes has been tight-lipped with specification, but it’s safe to say that in terms of battery power and motors, the Maybach will be available with the same options as the EQS. That means a 109kWh pack and range of nearly 500 miles by the time it reaches production. Four wheel-drive will be standard.
Where the Maybach really stands out is inside, where no stone has been left unturned in an effort to deliver the ultimate in passenger comfort. From a faux-fur carpet to individual rear seats and premium infotainment system, even the fussiest of rear seat occupants will have nothing to complain about.
There’s no word on production or pricing, but expect the first models to be around the £165,000 mark when they arrive in the UK late next year.