Renault has pulled the covers off its second mainstream electric car - the Megane E-Tech Electric.
Arriving next year, the new pure-electric car will sit alongside the Zoe and Twizy in the French brand's EV range, but confusingly doesn't replace the existing Megane. That car, which is a conventional five-door hatchback and estate and has been a feature of Renault's range since the mid-1990s, will continue for the time being and is currently only being offered as a plug-in hybrid.
Megane E-Tech is an electric coupe-SUV and doesn't replace the existing Megane
The SUV, called Megane E-Tech Electric to differentiate it from the existing car, is a hugely important car for Renault. Putting aside the quirky Twizy, the Megane E-Tech Electric is Renault's second mainstream EV following on from the Zoe, and is designed to build on the French firm's decade-long reputation as an EV carmaker.
It's appropriate, then, that it's the first model to wear Renault's new Novell-R logo – a stylised, retro-inspired badge which will be rolled out to all subsequent brand new models. It's about the same size as the Volkswagen ID.3 but with its coupe-SUV-designed body, the Megane also looks to the forthcoming ID.5 and Tesla Model Y for competition.
The front is dominated by the new badge and slim LED headlights with curving LED day-running lights that cut into the lower half of the bumper. Here, a contrasting trim colour can be chosen – gold in our images – and in total there are 30 different variations of body, trim and roof colour available.
At the back there's another pair of slim lights, but this time they're made up of intricate micro optic fibres with a 3D shimmering effect. A thin LED light bar also wraps around the back.
Infotainment screen uses Google as its operating system
Thanks to its CMF-EV platform (which is also shared with the Nissan Ariya), Renault designers have been able to push the wheels to each corner, maximising interior space. There's plenty of room in the front, although Renault has prioritised storage space with a large centre console – it's Ariya sister car has a completely flat floor beneath the dashboard.
Renault has really boosted interior quality and tech with the Megane. Soft-touch plastics dominate the interior and there's real wood trim for the doors. The Megane also debuts Renault's new 'OpenR' twin screen system with a 12.3-inch configurable digital instrument cluster, and a 12-inch portrait infotainment screen. The latter, like the Polestar 2, uses a Google operating system – a huge step up from Renault's clunky own system used in the Captur and Megane PHEV models.
Space in the back seats is a little off Volkswagen ID.4 levels and more on par with the ID.3, but it's spacious enough, while the boot sits in the middle between the two VWs at 440 litres. A 900kg braked towing capacity is a handy feature, too.
In terms of batteries, two will be available in the Megane E-Tech Electric. EV40 models use a 40kWh battery mated to a 128bhp electric motor powering the front wheels, while EV60 versions use a 60kWh battery and a 218bhp electric motor. Unlike the more powerful Nissan Ariya, there are no four-wheel drive models, and some models can support 22kW charging and DC rapid charging up to 130kW. Top-up times take eight hours on a home wallbox and 30 minutes from a rapid charging point.
Renault hasn't confirmed UK specifications or pricing yet, but it's possible the range will kick off beneath the £35,000 mark making the Megane eligible for the Government's plug-in car grant.
Just like nearly every other electric SUV, the Megane E-Tech Electric has a rear LED light bar