Renault Unveils Its Mass-Market Electric Future

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Another famous badge goes electric.

It's safe to say that Americans aren't into French cars, as in not even slightly. The closest thing to a French car locally is Alfa Romeo, and only because Italy is situated neatly next to France.

If you've been fortunate enough to have been to France (or Europe for that matter), you'll know that Renault has quite a big presence there. It builds some epic cars, but the most stunning of them all is the Megane RS, which is the latest in a long line of crazy hot hatches.

Like Ford, Renault is reinventing its most famous model name to make electricity more appealing. It recently introduced the all-new Megane, which is about as far away from a hot hatch as you can get.

The Megane E-Tech Electric is, however, a combination of extremely trendy ingredients. It's a compact crossover, and it's powered by electricity. You simply don't get more PC than that.

While the chances of it being introduced locally are zero, the Megane E-Tech will battle with the Ford Mustang Mach-E, sold in France. Speaking of the Mach-E, Ford famously poached Renault's tech boss to help out with future products.

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Unveiled at the Munich Motor Show this week, the Megane E-Tech is based on the Megane eVision concept car, and quite a few of the more adventurous design features made it through to production. Examples include the hidden door handles and the revamped Renault badge. It's a rare case of a concept car making it to production without any major changes.

The interior is completely digital, as is all the rage these days. We have mixed feelings about this and think Audi is going down a much better path by blending old and new.

The driver gets a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, while the front passenger can play around with the 12-inch infotainment system.

The interior is also environmentally friendly. Instead of peeling a cow to upholster the seats, the Megane E-Tech uses fabric upholstery made of recycled materials. Most of the interior trim is also recycled plastic. Renault says that 95% of this car is recyclable. While we don't like the digital interface, we like this holistic approach to building an EV. This is not Renault's first EV, however. It was actually a pioneer in the segment, with its oddly named Zoe dating back to 2011.

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There are two electric motors available. The base model gets a 130 hp/184 lb-ft motor, while the go-faster e-motor delivers 218 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque. It's not as fast as the Mach-E, but it should be able to sprint to 60 mph in seven seconds.

Power is provided by either a 40- or 60-kWh battery, and the claimed range is between 186 miles for the smaller battery and 292 miles for the larger battery. That's quite an achievement, considering the Tesla Model Y Long Range is capable of 326 miles. The legacy manufacturers are really starting to close that once colossal gap.

The Megane E-Tech can be charged at a 130kW charging station, adding 124 miles of range within 30 minutes. If you opt for the 7.4 kW home charging kit, it can be fully charged within eight hours.

Add it to the already long list of Renault models we'd love to see in the USA.

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