Electric Cars: The Basics
For those of you new to zero-emission electric driving, we recommend a read of the following articles:
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The All-Electric Megane E-Tech Hatchback
Groupe Renault (Renault Group), is a leading player in the global automotive sector. Renault is now part of the global Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance. The partnership makes these companies the 3rd largest automotive group in the world after Volkswagen and Toyota. Renault is headquartered in France.
Renault has been an early mover in the zero-emission electric driving sector and has established a leading position. The automotive manufacturer offers a number of well known battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), to include:
- All-electric ZOE E-TECH
- All-electric Megane E-TECH
- Captur E-TECH Plug-In Hybrid
- Megane E-TECH Plug-In Hybrid
- Megane Sport Tourer E-TECH Plug-In Hybrid
Renault is in an enviable position, in that, few automotive manufacturers have the benefit of the learnings of an electric car like the all-electric Renault ZOE, which was first shown at the Geneva Motor Show in 2012. Since then, over 400,000 units have been sold, with the automotive manufacturer gaining significant first-hand experience on electric cars, EV batteries and more.
The all-electric Renault Megane E-Tech has certainly benefited from the Zoe experience, and this is clearly evident in both the design and overall proposition of the EV. The family car has little in common with its predecessor, as Renault moves ahead to its next-generation of electric cars. The Megane EV is built on a dedicated EV platform (CMF-EV electric platform), also used by the all-electric Nissan Ariya SUV.
The Megane E-Tech family electric hatchback is available in one EV battery size: 60 kWh. This is an average EV battery size we have come to expect for small to medium sized family electric cars. In general, the larger the EV battery size, the longer the electric range. However, this is not the whole story.
The materials used, the ‘weight saving’ approach to design and manufacture, can all impact the efficiency and electric range of the vehicle. Bottom-line, in general, the lighter an EV, the lower the negative impact on the e-range. The Megane electric incorporates light weight aluminium doors. The EV weighs 1,636 kg.
Renault claims a pure electric range up to 450 km (WLTP) on a full battery charge. Certainly an impressive range and a demonstration of the automotive manufacturer’s experience in EV battery development and improvement in design of the new generation of Renault electric cars.
Of course, the real-world electric range will be lower than the quoted range. For those new to electric driving, it is worth noting that the real-world EV range is influenced by a number of factors. Some include: driving profile, weather conditions, road conditions, passenger load, tyre size and regenerative braking profile! For the pure electric Megane, expect a real-world range closer to 415 km. Still, a very useful and practical EV range.
The manufacturer also offers a 3-phase 22 kW AC onboard charger as standard. However, as most homes in Ireland are limited to single-phase power supply, taking advantage of the 22 kW charging speed will only be for those with access to 3-phase EV charging at home, workplace or a public charging station.
Using a dedicated three-phase EV charger, like the 22 kW zappi EV charger, the Megane electric car can be fully charged in 3 hours and 15 minutes. Charging at 11 kW, the EV will take up to 6 hours and 15 minutes to fully charge. Single-phase (7.4 kW) charging will take longer: 9 hours and 15 minutes. We at e-zoomed recommend charging overnight, at home, when the electricity tariff rates are cheaper. We also encourage using solar energy to charge an electric car.
We discourage the use of a 3-PIN domestic plug for charging an electric car. It would take up to 30 hours and 30 minutes to charge the EV. We also encourage charging on a regular basis. This way, there is always available ‘electric miles’ and regular charging is good for the long-term maintenance of the onboard EV battery. Renault offers a 8 years or 160,000 km warranty.
The EV can be rapid fast charged up to 130 kW DC. Not the fastest, nor the slowest. But given the EV battery size, it is appropriate. The EV can be charged from 15%-80% state-of-charge (SOC) in 30 minutes. Put another way, it would take just 7 minutes to gain 30 miles!
In terms of performance, the front-wheel drive Megane E-Tech can deliver 0-100 km/h in 7.5 seconds. The electric car delivers a maximum power up to 220 hp and 300 Nm torque. The top speed of the EV is 160 km/h. The EV also benefits from instant torque and incorporates regenerative braking with paddle shift levers.
The Megane E-TECH electric car offers up to 22 advanced assistance systems, to include: cruise control and speed limiter, smart rear-view mirror, rear parking sensors, front parking sensors, 360° view 3D camera, safe following distance warning, emergency lane keeping assist, blind spot warning and more. Also included are a 9” multimedia OpenR link screen and a 12.3” driver information display cluster.
The EV does not have a frunk (front storage compartment), but does offer up to 440 L boot space. Rear seats are a tight squeeze and the rear view impacted by the sportier exterior styling. The Megane electric hatchback has a sporty crossover styling blended with a hatch. It works well!
Bottom-line, electric driving is good for the environment and the wallet!
|Good electric range||Cheaper alternatives available|
|130 kW DC and 22 kW AC onboard charger as standard||Rear view impacted by exterior styling|
|Appealing exterior styling||Headroom and legroom for rear seats limited|
The All-Electric Renault Megane E-Tech Hatchback (credit: Renault)
|At A Glance|
|EV Type:||Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)|
|Available In Ireland:||Yes|
|Variants (3 Options)|
|Megane E-Tech Equilibre (from € 42,495)|
|Megane E-Tech Techno (from € 44,995)|
|Megane E-Tech Launch Edition (from € 52,795)|
|EV Battery & Emissions|
|EV Battery Type:||Lithium-ion|
|EV Battery Capacity:||Available in one battery size: 60 kWh|
|Charging:||130 kW DC Rapid Charging (15%-80%: 30 mins). Onboard charger: 22 kW AC (0%-100%: 3 hrs 15 mins)|
|Charge Port:||Type 2|
|EV Cable Type:||Type 2|
|Tailpipe Emissions:||0g (CO2/km)|
|Battery Warranty:||8 years or 160,000 km|
|Average Cost Of Residential Charging|
|Battery net capacity: 16.7 kWh||€ 4.00|
|Battery net capacity: 30.0 kWh||€ 7.19|
|Battery net capacity: 39.2 kWh||€ 9.39|
|Battery net capacity: 45.0 kWh||€ 10.78|
|Battery net capacity: 50.0 kWh||€ 11.98|
|Battery net capacity: 64.0 kWh||€ 15.34|
|Battery net capacity: 71.0 kWh||€ 17.01|
|Battery net capacity: 77.0 kWh||€ 18.45|
|Battery net capacity: 90.0 kWh||€ 21.57|
|Battery net capacity: 100.0 kWh||€ 23.97|
- Note 1: The average cost of residential electricity in Ireland varies depending on the region, supplier and type of energy used. An average for Ireland is 23.97 cents/kWh.
- Note 2: Not all EV manufactures make available the data on net EV battery capacity, and in a number of instances the EV battery capacity advertised, does not state if it is gross or net capacity. In general, usable EV battery capacity is between 85% to 95% of the gross available capacity.
|Charging Times (Overview)|
|Slow charging AC (3 kW – 3.6 kW):||6 – 12 hours (dependent on size of EV battery & SOC)|
|Fast charging AC (7 kW – 22 kW):||3 – 8 hours (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)|
|Rapid charging AC (43 kW):||0-80%: 20 mins to 60 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)|
|Rapid charging DC (50 kW+):||0-80%: 20 mins to 60 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)|
|Ultra rapid charging DC (150 kW+):||0-80% : 20 mins to 40 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)|
|Tesla Supercharger (120 kW – 250 kW):||0-80%: up to 25 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)|
- Note 1: SoC: state of charge
|Turning Circle (m):||10.56|
|Boot Space (L):||440|
|EV Battery Capacity:||60 kWh|
|Pure Electric Range (WLTP):||450 km|
|Electric Energy Consumption (kWh/ 100km):||16.1|
|Charging:||130 kW DC Rapid Charging (15%-80%: 30 mins). Onboard charger: 22 kW AC (0%-100%: 3 hrs 15 mins)|
|Top Speed:||160 km/h|
|0-100 km/h:||7.5 seconds|
|Drive:||Front-wheel drive (FWD)|
|Electric Motor (kW):||160|
|Max Power (hp):||220|
|Kerb Weight (kg):||1,636|
|NCAP Safety Rating:||N/A|
History Of Electric Cars: Quick Facts
|An electric vehicle (EV), also referred to as a battery-electric vehicle (BEV) is not a new invention or even an invention of modern times. Indeed, EVs were first developed more than a 100 years ago in the 19th century. Inventors from various countries, to include European countries and the United States, were the first to invest in electric motors and batteries. The first practical electric cars were built in the second half of the nineteenth century, with the first US electric car introduced in 1890.|
|Electric vehicles came into prominence in the early 1900’s, a time when horse-drawn carriages were the primary mode of transportation. Archived black and white photographs from that period show famous avenues like Madison Avenue in New York city filled with horse-drawn carriages. In stark contrast, a similar photograph taken a decade later of Madison Avenue showed not a single horse-drawn carriage. Instead the avenue was filled with motor vehicles, a new invention. It was the beginning of man’s love affair with cars that has lasted more than a century and still going strong.|
|However, the uptake of electric vehicles in the early 20th century was short-lived, as gasoline powered vehicles propelled by internal combustion engines (ICE) become the preferred mode of transportation. Bottom-line, manufactures chose internal combustion engines over electric cars in the early 1900s for various reasons, to include, the costs and production volumes.|
|It is not definitive as to where EVs were invented or to credit a single inventor. However, one known electric motor (small-scale) was created in 1828 by Anyos Jedlik, a Hungarian inventor, engineer, physicist and Benedictine priest. Hungarians and Slovaks still consider him to be the unsung hero of the electric motor.|
|Shortly after, between 1832 and 1839, a Scottish inventor Robert Anderson created a large electric motor to drive a carriage, powered by non-rechargeable primary power cells. Through the 19th century a number of inventors were inspired to develop electric motors to include, Thomas Davenport, an American from Vermont credited with building the first DC electric motor in America (1834). Unlike many of his contemporaries and other trying to build electric motors, Davenport did not have a background in either engineering or physics. In fact, he was a blacksmith.|
|Move forward a few decades and at the end of the 19th century, William Morrison created what is believed to be the first practical electric vehicle. Morrison, another American from Des Moines, Iowa, was a chemist who became interested in electricity. He build the first electric vehicle in 1887 in a carriage built by the Des Moines Buggy Co. His first attempt was not a great success. In 1890, he attempted again, with more success. 12 EVs were built using a carriage built by the Shaver Carriage Company.|
|The batteries were designed and developed by William Morrison. The vehicle had 24 batteries with an output of 112 amperes at 58 volts that took 10 hours to recharge. Available horsepower just under 4 horsepower. The vehicle could accommodate 6 individuals and had a top speed of 14 mph (22.50 km/h).|
|Morrison’s success led to others also developing large-scale practical electric cars. At the turn of the century cities like New York had 60 electric taxis. The first decade witnessed strong popularity for electric vehicles. However the popularity was short-lived as internal combustion engine (ICE) gasoline powered vehicles replaced the early electric vehicles. Henry Fords success with the then ubiquitous Ford Model T was the ‘beginning of the end’ for electric vehicles. The Model T was cheaper than the prevailing electric cars (US$ 650 Vs US$ 1,750) and could be manufactured at scale. As they say — the rest is history.|
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