Renault’s Z.E. range of electric vehicles turned a few heads at last year’s Frankfurt Motor Show but the company’s new electric concept car, the DeZir, is more likely give passersby a case of whiplash. The DeZir is a two-seater coupé that Renault says stands out as an illustration of the company’s commitment to more emotional styling. With its sports car looks and ability to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62mph) in five seconds, or 0 to 50 km/h in just two seconds, it’s hard to disagree.
The DeZir is the first Renault project to have been led by Laurens van den Acker, the automobile designer responsible for such distinctive vehicles as the Mazda Nagare, Ryuga and Hakaze. In designing the car its designers have taken Renault’s notion of the "life cycle" that aims to build bonds with its customers at watershed moments in their lives – the first step of which involves falling in love. Marketing hogwash aside, the DeZir, with its sensuous styling and bright red finish is sure to elicit the same kind of passion that is usually associated with traditional sports cars.
The headlights take the form of backlit prisms while the perforated "eyelids" are designed to add to the car’s high-tech feel. Rear lighting is provided by an illuminated strip that extends across the full width of the car with the Renault logo highlighted by backlighting through the fins of the grille.
In a unique design the DeZir’s left- and right-side gull-wing doors open in opposite directions – apparently to symbolize a “yin and yang-style amorous harmony.”
The central touchscreen display provides drivers with a real-time indication of their energy management via an interface that uses video-game style graphics. It also incorporates a smart navigation system that synchronizes journey information with the driver’s diary to manage tasks and itineraries.
The vertically-mounted 24kW/h lithium-ion battery is located behind the benchseat and provides the car with a range of 160km (99 miles). The battery is cooled by air channeled from the front to the back of the car as well as air that enters through the lateral scoops concealed behind the aluminum panels on either side of the body.
Three battery-charging methods can be employed:
Employing the same principles as the KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) seen in Formula 1, when the car decelerates, kinetic energy is recovered and stored in the battery. This energy can then be employed by the driver to provide a temporary power boost using a button located on the steering wheel.
As vehicles such as the Venturi Fetish and Tesla Roadster have proven, electric vehicles need not be lacking in performance and style and Renault’s DeZir is another example of this. Renault hasn’t indicated whether it has plans to take the DeZir into production, but with the company already confirming plans to release two if its Z.E. range next year, with others to follow there’s every chance the DeZir could join them.
The public will get its first opportunity to see the DeZir at the 2010 Paris Motor Show. Gizmag will be there to get any extra details about the DeZir we can lay our hands on... so stay tuned.
See the stories that matter in your inbox every morning