“I believe every new car should be its own little revolution,” says Gilles Vidal, Renault’s chief designer. “The world is moving too fast today, and the new normal is to have new things all the time.” Inside and out, the new Renault Mégane E-Tech Electric follows this dictate. The compact EV revises the codes of the popular segment long dominated by the Volkswagen Golf, enabled by a new Renault-Nissan Alliance platform. Even Renault’s existing Mégane has been left behind, Vidal says.
Long wheelbase, short overhangs
Large, 20-inch wheels are pushed to the very edge of the vehicle envelope, with minimal overhangs. That results in a wheelbase of 2.7 meters, nearly the same as the current Mégane, but with an overall length of just 4.2 meters, 150 mm shorter than the Mégane and even shorter than the Captur small SUV. “The brief for the Mégane came from the architecture itself,” said Vidal, who was head of design at rival Peugeot for a decade before moving to the Renault brand in 2020 after the arrival of the new group CEO Luca de Meo.
A new platform
The CMF-EV platform, which can also be seen on the Nissan Ariya compact electric SUV, features a flat floor with a battery height of just 11 cm, and heating/cooling components are moved in front of the cockpit. In some ways, the Mégane E-Tech is a concept car brought to life, Vidal says. In this case, the forefather of the Mégane is the Morphoz concept presented in 2020, which has donated its proportions, greenhouse silhouette and CMF-EV platform. But not, of course, its self-extending wheelbase meant to emphasize its polyvalent nature.
“Almost like a concept car”
The Mégane E-Tech’s exterior, by Yann Jersalié, maintains the warm, organic shapes that have marked Renault’s lineup since the 2021 Clio, but, like the Morphoz, encrusts it with high-tech, jewel-like details such as the modified C-shaped lighting signature and new Renault logo emblems. “The idea is to have a clean, minimal global volume, well structured, very balanced, compact and dense — quite generous in terms of shapes,” Vidal says. “If you put it in the middle of the car park today, it will look almost like a concept car.”
Inside, interior designer Magali Gouraud-Bourges has created a “feel at home spirit,” Vidal says: Wood-grain trim, generous use of fabrics, and above all, the new OpenR Link multimedia based on the Android Automotive operating system. Familiar Google services such as maps and voice recognition deliver an intuitive and easy-to-use HMI.
“At home, you care about the quality of your sofa, your carpet, but you also have high-tech things such as Alexa,” he adds. “We should see the car in exactly the same way. You don’t want to be in a car in the old sense any more; you want to be in your home, except it’s moving.”
“It will play a key role”
The Mégane E-Tech is also the first all-new car to be launched under Luca de Meo, who has vowed to improve Renault’s performance in the all-important compact segments. It will serve admirably in this role, Vidal said. “It’s exactly where it needs to be. Of course it’s 100 percent electric, it’s progressive in all kinds of ways,” he says. “It’s not just up to date, but it’s the way of the future.”