This article was published on September 7, 2021

Renault’s Megane E-Tech has cool new features for quenching battery fires

Thanks to the Fireman Access and a special QR code

Renault’s Megane E-Tech has cool new features for quenching battery fires
Ioanna Lykiardopoulou
Story by

Ioanna Lykiardopoulou

Ioanna is a writer at TNW. She covers the full spectrum of the European tech ecosystem, with a particular interest in startups, sustainabili Ioanna is a writer at TNW. She covers the full spectrum of the European tech ecosystem, with a particular interest in startups, sustainability, green tech, AI, and EU policy. With a background in the humanities, she has a soft spot for social impact-enabling technologies.

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At the 2021 IAA Mobility Show on Monday, Renault premiered its electric Megane E-Tech. While the car is loaded with interesting characteristics, its safety features are by far the most impressive.

Renault firefighters
Credit: Motor 1
Live photo of the Renault Megane E-Tech from 2021 IIA Mobility Show. It comes with two battery capacities: 40kWh for a range of 300km and 60kWh for a range up to 470km. 

It seems like Renault has truly doubled down on a “safety first” approach by equipping its latest EV with the so-called Fireman Access feature.

The Fireman Access is the innovative child of the 10-year collaboration between Renault and French firefighters, as part of the brand’s aim to facilitate their work when responding to accidents.

How it works

The EV includes special access for rescue teams which they can use when quenching a battery fire. Renault claims that this way firefighters can extinguish flames in just five minutes, as opposed to one to the three hours it usually takes.

There’s also a special switch under the rear bench which enables rescue teams to disconnect the battery from the high voltage circuit of the vehicle.

Renault Megane E-Tech
Credit: Renault Group
Work session between Claire Petit-Boulanger (Tertiary Safety Expert at Renault Group Engineering) and Christophe Lenglos (Lieutenant-Colonel, Yvelines Fire and Rescue Department) the CMF-EV platform and the Fireman Access at the Technocentre in France.

The second innovation is a QR code affixed to Megane E-Tech’s windshield. It’s intended to be scanned by emergency services, providing them with all the technical specs they need for the rescue operation.

This necessary data takes the form of a rescue sheet which provides first responders with the car’s structural information, including the location of the battery and airbags and ideal spots for quick and risk-free cutting.

There’s no doubt that this information is vital when it comes to extracting someone from a crashed vehicle. And as a matter of fact, Renault claims that it can save up some precious 15 minutes in response time.

Renault Megane E-Tech
Credit: Renault Group
Firefighter scans the QR code to access Renault Zoe’s rescue sheet training session.

The Fireman Access and the QR code are part of Renault’s “Safety Coach” measures and will appear on all Renault Group vehicles in Europe as of 2022. When this is realized, firefighters will also be able to determine if the vehicle is an EV, HEV, or PHEV model.

The Megane E-Tech is equipped with a number of other notable safety features as well, such as Rear Automatic Emergency Braking and Occupant Safe Exit, but the Fireman Access is clearly the most eye-catching.

Not only is this innovation in car safety a smart move for Renault to distinguish itself as a brand, but also — more importantly — an amazing addition that could save lives.

I really hope though that Renault’s distinction won’t last for long and other automakers adopt similarly smart safety features.

Do EVs excite your electrons? Do ebikes get your wheels spinning? Do self-driving cars get you all charged up? 

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