Renault Megane E-Tech long-term test: report 4

Renault's latest Megane has gone electric and adopted trendy SUV styling, but what it's like to live with? We're finding out...

Renault Megane E-Tech Ionity charging

The car Renault Megane E-Tech EV60 220HP Techno Run by Jim Holder, editorial director

Why it’s here Its name may be well known, but little else about this car is familiar; for the first time the Megane is an all-electric car, sitting on all-new underpinnings that will form the basis of a family of new Renaults. Is it any good?

Needs to offer The ease of use and practicality of family car rivals while proving efficient in its use of electricity and fast to charge

Mileage 3466 Price £39,495 Target Price £39,011 Price as tested £40,445 Test range 228 miles Official range 280 miles

16 April 2023 – Springing into action

Once upon a time, I looked for snowdrops, bluebells or daffodils emerging from the ground to mark the changing of the seasons. These days, I look at my electric car’s range prediction.

Arguably, it’s a foolish way of working; ‘range-o-meters’ in electric cars are famously and unhelpfully variable in their outlook, typically taking an average of your recent use and applying it regardless of what you are doing at the time.

But one thing that can be assured to make a significant and positive difference to your range – both predicted and actual – is a spell of brighter weather. In my experience, the springing of spring, and a consequent shift from ambient temperatures of around 5-10deg C to more, will typically unleash an extra 10-20% of mileage as the battery soaks up more electricity.

Renault Megane E-tech range in spring

That may sound a surprisingly large amount, but it is a reality of electric car ownership that stokes one of the most frequent complaints we get from owners. In simple terms, the ‘stickiness’ of electricity in battery cells according to weather conditions is one of the reasons we run our Real Range tests in the winter and summer, in a bid to provide best and worst case scenarios as well as an average. 

Pertinently, it’s a particularly significant point of note with my Renault Megane E-Tech, which struggled through the winter, at times showing a shockingly poor 137 miles of range (its maximum is quoted at 280 miles, its average around 230 miles), but which, with the sun shining and a few more 55-65mph journeys under its belt (in theory, the most efficient), has now leapt up to a predicted 228 miles of range.

I need to drive more to check the veracity of that figure but, even so, at a more than 50% uplift, it’s an extraordinary shift that completely transforms how I use and perceive the car.

Over the Easter weekend, for instance, we went 70 miles away to the coast, and I planned to charge each day. I downloaded apps, did my research and planned routes that featured faster chargers or overnight chargers. I was fine with that being part of EV life but, well, the reality of unlocking all this extra range was that I only charged once.

Renault Megane E-Tech fast charge

Better still, the extra range meant I could choose to do so at a location that was convenient rather than critical. So it was I could swap popping out in the evening, putting the car on charge and spending 10 minutes walking back to our accommodation (and then the reverse in the morning) each day, for a single fast blast while we were in the supermarket.

What had threatened to be a disruptive requirement turned into a hassle-free non-event, albeit at the eye-watering cost of 85p/kWh for the ultra-rapid charge. Petrol or diesel would have cost less per mile, but with the flipside of requiring a specific stop.

The net result is that I head into summer feeling much more positive about life with the Megane E-Tech. As I’ve said before, it is a good car in many ways and brilliant in some; in particular, it’s stylish to my eyes, practical (bar the cramped back seat space) and quite fun to drive, thanks to the direct steering.

Until now, the one (major) drawback was how few miles it would do between charges. Just as the changing season lifts the gloom of winter, so perhaps it can shift my perceptions of the Megane E-Tech favourably too.

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