First Look: Renault DeZir Electric Coupe

Another “emotional” styling exercise debuts at Paris show.

by on Jul.06, 2010

DeZir capable of accelerating from zero to 100 kph in five seconds, and to 50 kph in just two.

Renault released this morning the first glimpse of its latest concept car, DeZir (D-zI’-er), ahead of this year’s Paris Motor Show in October.

Renault has just passed Ford Motor as the third largest brand in Europe, based in part on a strategy of inexpensive option packages that combined the most, well, desirable features that Ford was charging more money for. VW remains securely in first place, with PSA/Citroen in second.

In a statement, Renault said DeZir stands as an illustration of the brand’s commitment to more emotional styling. As such, DeZir is a complete rejection of the angular styling favored by Renault’s former head of design, Patrick Le Quement. Renault says that fluidity was an overriding theme from the initial preliminary sketches, and was expressed by a blend of simple forms and generous volumes.

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The new design chief, Laurens van den Acker, who came from Mazda and Ford, is working the brand’s new signature “Drive the Change!”

The rear-wheel drive coupe is slightly longer than the production Mégane coupe now on sale, and is likely similar to the next production Mégane – Renault’s bestseller in Europe. Certainly, the grille can easily spread across the range as a new signature motif.

The concept is also part of Renault’s Z.E. or zero emission strategy. Renault plans to sell four electric cars in Europe within the next two years as it aims – along with joint-venture partner Nissan – to be the first full-line manufacturer to mass-market “affordable” zero-emission vehicles. Affordable in this case includes massive taxpayer financed subsidies of EVs.

"My early source of inspiration stemmed from the liquid sensation, wave-like movement and contrasts in light associated with certain rippled surfaces."

“DeZir is a statement of our new formal design language which conveys notions such as movement, sensuality and emotion through ideal proportions, in much the same way as an object whose forms have been honed by nature. The result is a warm, stimulating design that says Renault,” claimed Axel Breun, Renault’s Director of Concept Car and Show Car Design.

DeZir is powered by an electric motor mounted in a mid-rear position. The vertically mounted 24 kW/h lithium-ion battery is located behind the bench seat and provides the car with a range of 160 km.

The basic motor is the same as the unit used for Renault’s production electric cars, although power and torque are increased to 110 kW and 226 Nm respectively.

Three battery-charging methods can be employed:

  • a standard charge using a conventional household plug (fully charges the battery in eight hours).
  • a fast charge using a 400V three-phase current (charges the battery to 80% of its capacity in 20 minutes).
  • a fast battery exchange thanks to Renault’s “Quick Drop” technology.

In order to optimize range and performance, Renault Design’s technical teams made its body is made from Kevlar, while its tubular steel frame is similar to that employed for Mégane Trophy racecar.

DeZir’s suspension also shares with Mégane Trophy – including a double wishbone suspension. DeZir’s aerodynamics with a full underbody fairing and a rear diffuser results in result of this work is a drag coefficient (Cd) of 0.25.

“My early source of inspiration stemmed from the liquid sensation, wave-like movement and contrasts in light associated with certain rippled surfaces,” observes Yann Jarsalle, who was in charge of DeZir’s exterior styling. “By directly laying out volumes and not just joining together a number of surfaces by lines, I felt more in tune with the world of sculpture than with that of architecture.”

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