Renault Megane E-Tech long-term test: report 2

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 range on a full charge

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 1766 Price £39,495 Target Price £39,011 Price as tested £40,445 Test range 179 miles Official range 280 miles

4 March 2023 – Range anxiety

The Renault Megane E-Tech has an official range of 280 miles. That’s calculated to a test regime mandated by the authorities, so it's the figure Renault is obliged to quote. The idea is that this ensures an equal level of comparison for car buyers shopping between brands. 

The trouble is, in real-world UK conditions it is never a fair target. Our weather and driving conditions mean it is very rarely achieved, and that as a rule of thumb you are better off deducting 10-20% from the quoted figure, depending largely on how cold it is.

However, the Megane E-Tech has spent the recent cold snaps redefining expectations – and not in a good way.

Renault Megane E-tech on charge

From a full charge, it has been indicating 135-145 miles (less than half the official figure) and despite my early hopes that this was just the range-o-meter being pessimistic and easily misguided, regular use suggests the figure is accurate. It was so consistently bad that I asked my local Renault dealer to take a look at the car; it returned with a clean bill of health.

Instead, it is my driving that is under scrutiny, not because I’m hiding boy racer tendencies (I’m now wedded to the car's eco driving mode) but because almost all of my journeys around outer London are short hops, usually of three miles, and rarely more than 10.

That means I use a disproportionate amount of energy by having the heaters, demisters and the like on, and this seems to be the root cause of my range being munched. It adds up, because on the occasions when I do longer journeys on A-roads and motorways, the car's efficiency improves from around 2.5 to 3.0 miles/kWh, netting me around 180 miles of driving capability.

Renault Megane E-Tech driving from rear

A heat pump would help to pre-condition the engine and use wasted heat generated to warm the interior; estimates suggest it can improve range by at least 9%. Sadly, Renault UK initially elected not to sell cars here with the option of one – a decision it has now reversed with the introduction of a new range-topping Iconic spec.

Based on this evidence, I wouldn’t buy a Megane E-Tech without one. You might argue that’s being overly cautious, given that I’m driving no more than 20 miles a day, but without it, the potential for using the car outside of the city is severely handicapped.

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