My name is Sjoerd van Bilsen.
I put a magnifying glass under some of the peculiarities of car models.
Or discuss with you some of the special items to be found on a car.
Welcome to a new episode of Sjoerds' Weetjes.
The well-known trademark logo of Renault Cars has been redesigned. Together with a facelift of the Renault Megane. And below that redesigned trademark logo we find the word Megane.
The name Megane celebrates its 26th birthday this year. It all started out with the first generation Renault Megane in 1996 and now Renault are currently building the fourth generation of this sucessful model. But here today I present you the fifth generation.
But how should we interpret that? Well, this is the fifth generation of the Renault Megane. But it does not directly succeed the fourth generation.
This is actually a completely new car; it is the electric version of the Renault Megane; the E-Tech. And you can clearly identify it by the last letter of the word Megane on the bootlid which is thicker and has a yellow colour.
You might think that the letter E stands for Electrified but not really; it stands for E-Tech.
We are actually at the beginning of a new period at Renault. The current, fourth generation, of the Renault Megane will continue to be build, but this new E-Tech version will be built alongside it.
The underlying idea is that the new E-Tech Megane will actually sell so well that the public will soon completely forget the current, fourth generation of the Renault Megane. Renault will want the public to forget about the current line-up with internal combustion engines and soon make the transition to completely electric cars.
The car you see here is a five-door hatchback version which measures 4,21 metres in length.
There was a time when the Renault Megane was available in more different body styles. Remember the first generation? That was build out to a family of six different body styles. That was including the Scenic model, which had a small logo on the side between the front on rear doors, at the window level. That first Scenic was known under the name of Megane Scenic
Of that very first generation of the Renault Megane; there were also a saloon version, a convertible, a coupe....of the current Megane there only exist a five-door hatchback as well as an Estate version.
But with the new, fifth, generation of the Renault Megane, the company will extend the line-up of models. They start with the five-door hatchback but soon other body styles will follow.
The big question is: what other body style of the new Renault Megane will follow? Well, Renault are not very keen to communicate anything about that, so we will focus on the five-door hatchback for today. And we present it in all its glory and its length of 4,21 metres.
The length of 4,21 metres is actually the minimum length for the platform as such. Renault can build on the platform from a length of 4,20 metres, while this car measures just one centimetre more, and they can extend that with half a metre.
The wheelbase of this car is 2,69 metres but that can be extended to 2,78 metres. So that indicates how flexible this platform actually is.
Why can't they make a car with a smaller wheelbase? Well the answer is that there lies a battery pack in the bottom end of the car. It is located beneath the passenger compartment and fits between the two wheels on each side.
This platform has been especially designed for electric cars. Its name is CMF-EV. And the last letters point to the name Electric Vehicle.
So what did the engineers at Renault do? Well, they did not just pick an existing platform, for instance that of the current Megane and redesign it to make it compatible for an electric drivetrain...they really designed and engineered a completely new platform.
I discussed this item with Laurens van den Acker, chief design boss at the Renault Group. He indicated that using a special, newly designed platform for electric cars, gave the engineers and designers real freedom in developing this new car.
In short; they did not have to make any compromises in the sense of having to plan to integrate a conventional internal combustion engine in the overall design. This new platform will be exclusively used for an electric drivetrain and no combustion engine as such.
The overhang at the front is rather short. The wheelbase is relatively long given the length of the car which measures 4,21 metres.
What you can clearly see is that the engine hood is rather short. The reason is that an electric engine is 30 percent shorter than a conventional internal combustion engine. So it takes up less space. Thus resulting in a shorter engine hood.
If there had to be integrated a internal combustion engine in the overall design as such; the engine hood would have been much longer. But in this case, the car is purely electric.
So what did the engineers do? Well, one of the things is that the whole airconditioning unit was taken out of the interior, it is normally integrated in the dashboard, and they moved it under the engine hood.
The advantage of that is, if you look in the interior. Just have a look at how the door opens...the door handles are fully integrated in the bodywork of the car.
So the door handles are fully integrated in the bodywork, but they appear when you approach the car within 1 metre distance, if you have the keys in your pocket.
At the rear doors; the door handles are integrated in the upper side of the side window, almost at the C-pillar. It is a conventional door handle and it follows the same idea as that of the Renault Captur.
The front door handles will sink away in the bodywork when you start driving the car.
We were talking about the lower end of the dashboard. You can see that there is a middle console......it is not as high as with a conventional car, but a centre console has been created anyhow.
There is a lot of storage space in the centre console. There is ample room for bottles and cans and you can easily create the space, there are various opportunities to do so.
There are a lot of storage spaces, but the French seem to love that. There is even one storage space for Wireless Charging of the smartphone.
So how do you change gears in this car? Well, there is a satellite handle behind the steering wheel where you have the opportunity to select Drive, Reverse or Park.
There are three satellite handles on the right side of the steering column. The upper is for the gearbox, the middle one is for the windscreen wipers and the lower for the operation of the audio system. The satellite handle on the left side of the steering column is for the operation of the lights.
So, this new platform, specifically designed for an electric drivetrain, offers possibilities. For instance, it creates more room within the car. But you can approach that differently.And Laurens van den Acker, the head of design at the Renault Group, found this to be a real advantage.
By the way, this is a pre-production car, but the point is that the engineers did not have to reckon with a conventional engine, be it petrol or diesel, having to be integrated into the overall concept of the car.
Meanwhile, a new chief designer for the Renault car brand has been appointed. His name is Gilles Vidal. He has been working at Renault for some two years now.
When Gilles Vidal started to work for the Renault car brand, the design of the new Renault Megane was actually frozen, its design could not be changed anymore.
But, he did manage to give his own, albeit small, signature to the overall design of the new Renault Megane. If you look closely at the underside of the doors of the car....
The small notches at the underside of the doors accentuate where the battery pack of the car is located, namely beneath the passenger compartment. But it also helps to sort of diverse the attention of the relatively height of the car. This car is 1,50 metres high, which is rather high for a C-segment car.
So these side body parts help accentuate where the battery pack lies but it also adds a touch of playfulness to the overall design. As do the notches. The notches specifically where the last item to be added to the overall design of the new Megane and they were added by Gilles Vidal. You could also say, it was his first piece of work for his new employer, By the way; the notches are made by laser.
So the notches were the last "finishing touch" that Gilles Vidal added to the car. But there is something funny about those notches. If you look at the other car and specifically its wheels.....
You can actually see the theme of those notches coming back or reappearing in the design of the light metal wheels. But what do those notches remind you of?
Well, in the Renault brand logo of the seventies for example, the overall brand logo consist of several loose notches or lines. It is a reference to that brand logo of the seventies. But if you look at the front grille of this car.....
The logo on this car is completely different to what we saw previously on Renault cars. It is a new and completely refreshed logo which will appear on all new Renault models and not specifically on the electric variants of the range.
I do have to add that Renault as a car brand will only build electric cars for the European market. So this new logo will appear on all future models.
Gilles Vidal, the new head of design for the Renault car brand, came into the office on his first working day. By the way, he also took a sketch of a remodelled Renault 5 with him. A re-interpretation of the iconic Renault 5 model.
Gilles Vidal also had the idea that the brand logo could use a much needed refresh of its design. And what followed was the new brand logo which you see on this car.
Gilles Vidal showed the redesigned logo to the new CEO of Renault which is Luca de Meo. And Mr De Meo was convinced that this was a good design, a fresh and new interpretation of the company brand logo.
It is not that simple as you might think; the brand logo does not only appear on the front and rear end of the car, on the steering wheel and on the wheels....but it is also engraved in the windows, it appears under the bonnet.....and on various components.
So a lot of thinking has to go into refreshing a brand logo and a lot of components of the car have to be changed. But Luca de Meo was convinced that the new Renault Megane would be the first model to bear the new brand logo.
But when Gilles Vidal began working for Renault, the design of the new Renault Megane was already frozen. And all the concept and study versions of the Renault Megane still bear the old logo. Only with the pre-production models, basically the cars I am standing next to, the new logo was put on the car.
But what kind of electric drivetrain are we talking about? There are two versions; one with a 96 kW power and one with 160 kW power.
There is choice with the battery pack as well; there are 40 kWh and 60 kWh battery packs. The smaller battery pack has a range of 300 km, the version with 60 kWh will give you a range of 470 km.
You can charge with 22 kW AC or with DC 130 kW.
Let's go to the interior of this car...I can open the doors without even having the keys....and just look at that digital screen. It actually consists of two screens; on the left you will find a 12-inch screen and on the right a 12,3-inch digital screen.
The shape of the screen is an L-shape. You might think that it is one screen, but it isn't. There is a flawless overflow....
The two screens have been set in one holder and they call this design a turned L-design.
I only notice this now; but the air outlets have been put above the glove compartment. They form one line but it is part of the overall interior design.
The air outlets can be individually controlled. You can see by looking at the digital screen that there is Google maps installed.....
This car is installed with Google software. And that includes the navigation system.
If you connect the navigation system to your adapative cruise control; then you will find that the car automatically adapts its speed to upcoming corners and speed bumps as well as roundabouts.
But; the whole car works on Google software, so there is Google assistant, where you can shout out one command.......to the voice recognistion system.
So; if you are irritated by all those speed cameras located on the highway A2 between Amsterdam and Utrecht....there are some 120 in total....then all that information is stored in the system.
Everything is on the latest digital version. And there is another interesting fact..this car has mood lighting in the interior.
You can adjust the mood lighting according to your wishes...but then there is also this automatic function whereas the mood lighting adapts itself according to the day and time.
So the system might change colour depending on the time of day. Always adapting to your mood....
Since this is an electric car; the interior is made of recycled materials. With the two base versions; the whole interior is made from recycled materials. But with the more expensive versions there is less usage of recycled materials.
This new, fully electric Renault Megane will come to the market in March 2022. The production takes place in France.
The battery packs are made in France too, even if the partner Nissan produces the battery packs for its sister model; the Nissan Ariya in Japan.
The Nissan Ariya is the sister model of this car; it is bigger and has a larger wheelbase. If we look at the Nissan Airya, it might give an indication as to what future body styles of the Renault Megane will appear on the market...perhaps an SUV or even a MPV?
So this is it: the new fifth generation of the Renault Megane. But I have to add that this is the E-Tech version with an electric drivetrain.
But in the future; we will only talk about the Megane and it will have an electric drivetrain anyhow.
Look; the boot has 440 litres of storage capacity. If you compare it with the current Megane; it is 385 litres VDA.
Under the boot carpet; you can store your battery charging cables. That space is 22 litres big, but that figure is included in the 440 litres of stowage capacity I just mentioned.
And the battery charging point is located in the side of the car, just behind the front wheel arches.
And this filler cap features the new Renault brand logo so that you know where to press in order to open it.