As it celebrates 100 years of automotive ingenuity, Citroën is looking at the past, present and future of mobility. The present? Supporting flexible lifestyles by combining traditional mobility with digital connectivity. The Citroënist concept camper van does just that to assist the new wave of untethered digital nomads, providing a mobile work space and apartment for two as it navigates open spaces and tight city centers.
A long way from the countercultural wandering hippies of yore, the modern day camper van full-timer tends to be something of a free-moving working stiff. With remote working opportunities abounding and connectivity available at every corner coffee shop and grocer, living in a camper van no longer means abandoning steady work for road life and odd jobs collected along the way. Instead, today's van lifer blends work and travel into a seamless lifestyle, trading the claustrophobic cubicle for the world at large.
On the downside, camping vehicles are optimized for driving and living but not necessarily working on the road. Try getting any real work done in the average travel van or teardrop trailer and you may very well find yourself on the wrong end of a pink slip.
With the painfully named SpaceTourer The Citroënist Concept (that's just going to read "Citroënist" from here on), Citroën explores how a customized van can effectively play the role of both business van and simple camper. The concept cleverly combines overnight accommodations, a digitally supported work space and an even lighter, quicker way of getting to city center meetings or distant clifftop sunsets.
Developed in conjunction with Germany's Pössl, which also builds Citroën-based camper vans like the versatile Campster, the Citroënist looks quite similar to any other small camper van from the outside, save for its flashy show-car black/white/red color scheme. It has a pop-up roof and an outdoor shower below the lift-gate and is otherwise a basic 195-in (495-cm) SpaceTourer. Base van equipment includes a Dangel all-wheel drive and driver-assistance tech like an active safety brake and color head-up display. The dual power sliding doors add convenience for both everyday commuting and camping.
Inside, the Citroënist is anything but average, as Pössl replaces the usual camper van kitchen block with a modular connected office/multimedia center. The system features computer hardware inside the cabinet and a retractable flat-panel TV that emerges through the top of the cabinet to work as a productivity and entertainment interface.
Swivel front seats combine with the two inline rear seats to create a living room-like space around the TV. The multimedia system includes a Click & Share feature that allows occupants to quickly and easily share content. A removable table adds dining and work space, and the TV can lower into the console to create additional flush worktop.
The Citroënist van is a compact camper, but there are certain to be spaces too tight to allow its passage, both in the city and out in nature. For those times, van dwellers can pop out the bicycle that shares its look and name with the van that carries it: Rider The Citroënist by Martone.
We're surprised Citroën didn't opt for an electric bike, but it sticks with a simple single-speed notable mostly for its matching styling complete with red chain. Prepared in cooperation with bicycle company Martone, that bike completes the dual-mode transportation concept when stored in the carrier mounted beside the tandem rear van seats. The carrier can accommodate two bicycles so the second camper can bring along a bike as well.
Citroën debuted the Citroënist concept at last week's Geneva Motor Show, adding yet another camper van to a recent slate that includes the 2018 Type H WildCamp and Jumper Biker vans. The company is clearly dedicated to further increasing its position as a leading European motorhome supplier, explaining that it grew by 71 percent last year to grab more than 10 percent of the market.
The Citroënist is quite a particular concept, and we'd imagine many a van driver would prefer a second sleeping berth in the cabin over a bicycle carrier and maybe a kitchen in place of or addition to the mobile office. As such, we don't expect to see it move past the concept stage. The Martone bicycle, however, went up for order following its debut and is available for €950 (US$1,075) at lifestyle.citroen.com. Citroën is also offering a line of Citroënist merchandise, including a jacket, mug and notebook.
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