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 Renault Megane Sport Tourer PHEV Estate
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
The Renault Megane family car has been available since 1996. The concept version was unveiled in 2011. The vehicle is now in its fourth generation, which was unveiled in 2015. The Megane received a facelift in 2020, which also included the introduction of the Megane plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV).
Looking for a spacious family car, with an affordable price tag and low running costs? Well, the Megane Sport Tourer (estate) plug-in electric car is certainly an option worth considering. Despite the increased availability of family electric cars over the past three years, the introduction of estate electric cars has been relatively limited, for both the premium and non-premium badges.
Estate electric vehicles, like the Megane Sport Tourer PHEV have much to offer families and company car drivers aspiring to migrate to emission-free electric driving. We encourage automotive manufacturers to demonstrate more commitment for launching estate electric cars.
Though the Megane electric car EV battery size is limited to 9.8 kWh, the EV is able to deliver a fuel-free zero-tailpipe emission range up to 50 km (WLTP). Of course, do keep in mind that the real-world EV range will be lower than the claimed WLTP range, and assuming a 45 km pure electric range is more realistic. However, ample range to take advantage of the lower cost of driving an electric car. Depending on the cost of charging, driving an electric car will cost between 5 and 10 cents per km.
Also, the best way to enjoy the smoother and silent electric mode, is to make sure that the EV battery is ‘topped up’ on a regular basis. This also helps with the long-term health and maintenance of the EV battery. The EV has a 3.6 kW onboard charger and is not capable of DC charging. This is quite typical of PHEVs, however, many plug-in electric cars offer a 7.4 kW onboard charger and are capable of rapid charging. The EV can be fully charged in 3 hours.
Like all PHEVs, the pairing of an electric motor with the internal combustion engine (ICE), also helps reduce the tailpipe-emissions for the plug-in electric car. The claimed tailpipe-emissions is up to 30g (CO2/km). The lower the emissions, the lower the local air pollution. A win-win for all!
The hybrid drivetrain also improves the overall efficiency of the electric vehicle (EV). Renault claims a fuel economy up to 1,4 l/100 km. Of course, real-world fuel economy will be impacted by a number of factors, to include, the use of the e-mode i.e. the more the EV is driven on electric mode, the better the fuel economy.
The performance of the electric estate will not set the heart racing, but it does the job! The front-wheel drive Renault plug-in hybrid can achieve 0-100 km/h in 9.8 seconds, with a top speed of 183 km/h. The hybrid drivetrain delivers a maximum power of 160 HP (torque: 205 Nm), sufficient for city and motorway driving. Do keep in mind that the additional weight of the onboard EV battery does impact the overall performance of the vehicle (EV Kerb weight: 1,669 kg).
The EV does have a host of standard features and technology. However, the boot space has been impacted by the placement of the EV battery, nevertheless, the EV offers a cargo volume up to 394 L and an otherwise spacious interior. Bottom-line, electric driving is good for the environment and the wallet!
|Family friendly and a practical low emission electric estate car||Small EV battery (9.8 kWh) and limited electric range|
|Attractive exterior styling||Cabin interior not the most exciting|
|Good fuel efficiency and cheap to drive on electric mode||Some alternatives have a larger boot space|
The Renault Megane Sport Tourer PHEV (credit: Renault)
|At A Glance|
|EV Type:||Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)|
|Available In Ireland:||No|
|Variants (2 Options)|
|Iconic (price N/A)|
|R.S. Line (price N/A)|
|EV Battery & Emissions|
|EV Battery Type:||Lithium-ion|
|EV Battery Capacity:||Available in one battery size: 9.8 kWh|
|Charging:||DC Charging not available. On board charger: 3.6 kW AC (0% – 100%: 3 hrs)|
|Charge Port:||Type 2|
|EV Cable Type:||Type 2|
|Tailpipe Emissions:||30g (CO2/km)|
|Battery Warranty:||8 years or 150,000 km|
|Average Cost Of Residential Charging|
|Battery net capacity : 8.8 kWh||€ 2.10|
|Battery net capacity : 11.6 kWh||€ 2.78|
|Battery net capacity : 12.0 kWh||€ 2.87|
|Battery net capacity : 13.10 kWh||€ 3.14|
|Battery net capacity : 14.10 kWh||€ 3.37|
- 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)|
- Note 1: SoC: state of charge
|Turning Circle (m):||11.4|
|Boot capacity (L):||394|
|E-TECH Plug-In Hybrid 160 Auto|
|EV Battery Capacity:||9.8 kWh|
|Pure Electric Range (WLTP):||50 km|
|Electric Energy Consumption (kWh/100km):||N/A|
|Fuel Consumption (l/100 km):||1,3 – 1,4|
|Charging:||DC Charging not available. On board charger: 3.6 kW AC (0% – 100%: 3 hrs)|
|Top Speed:||183 km/h|
|0-100 km/h:||9.8 seconds|
|Drive:||Front-wheel drive (FWD)|
|Electric Motor (kW):||N/A|
|Max Power (HP):||160|
|Kerb Weight (kg):||1,669|
|NCAP Safety Rating:||Five-Star|
Types Of Electric Vehicles
|Type Of Electric Vehicle (EV)||Description|
|Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicles (MHEVs)||Mild hybrids use both an internal combustion engine (ICE) and electric motor. These cars are also known as ‘self-charging hybrids’. The vehicle uses regenerative braking (recuperated electric energy) to improve the fuel efficiency and to reduce tailpipe emissions (CO2 g/km). However, mild hybrids cannot be charged by an external power source (i.e. EV charger). The recuperated electric energy is also used to boost the the combustion engine enhancing acceleration. Automotive manufactures (OEMs) like Toyota are one of the pioneers in developing and introducing mild hybrid vehicles. The ubiquitous Toyota Prius mild hybrid is an excellent example. Toyota also helped popularise the use of mild hybrids in the premium segment via its wholly owned Lexus brand.|
|Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)||Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) aim to achieve the same objectives like a MHEV i.e. increase fuel efficiency and reduce tailpipe emissions. However there is much difference between a PHEV and a MHEV. The PHEV has a larger electric motor and onboard EV battery that is used to assist the internal combustion engine (ICE), but also to propel the vehicle. In a MHEV, the small onboard electric motor does not propel the vehicle. PHEVs come in varied EV battery sizes, but in general, most PHEVs have an EV battery size below 20 kWh. A plug-in electric car is capable of up to 50 km on electric mode. However, some PHEVs are capable of a longer pure electric range. The Volvo XC60 PHEV is a good example of a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. Moreover, a PHEV EV battery is charged by using an external power source to include, a domestic 3-PIN plug or a dedicated EV charger.|
|Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)||A battery-electric vehicle is more commonly referred to as a pure electric car. The EV is ‘pure’, in that, the vehicle only uses electric power for propulsion i.e. a BEV does not have an internal combustion engine (ICE). It is easy to recognise these zero-tailpipe emission green cars, as these vehicles are silent (except for the artificial noise) and do not have a tailpipe! The pure electric vehicles have a much larger onboard EV battery compared to a PHEV. The EV battery on a BEV can be as large as 120 kWh, though an average is 60 kWh. In any case, most BEVs have an EV battery larger than 30 kWh. BEVs also use regenerative braking to improve the vehicle efficiency and electric range. However, the main source for the EV range is the EV battery, which can only be charged using an external power source, like an EV charger. BEVs can vary in electric range. However the more recent BEVs have a range between 300 to 500 km (WLTP) on a single charge. As an example, the all-electric VW ID.3 has a range up to 540 km.|