PARIS – Renault SA’s new chief designer, Laurens van den Acker, has approved the first product of his reign at the French auto maker, a concept for an electric gull-winged sports car.
The DeZir, which will be presented at the Paris auto show Sept. 30, “lays the foundations for the styling cues of Renault's forthcoming vehicles,” the auto maker says. In particular, elements of the front end likely will become part of a new Renault signature.
While the DeZir is not expected to reach production, it represents some ideas Renault may be exploring. The 2-seat coupe, 166 ins. (422 cm) long, weighs only 1,830 lbs. (830 kg), including the 24 kWh lithium-ion battery and the synchronous motor providing rear-wheel drive.
The Kevlar body rides on a tubular steel frame like that in the Megane Trophy race car, and the 147-hp (110-kW) electric motor is an evolution of the one Renault is using for its production electric cars, such as the Fluence Z.E. and Zoe Z.E.
The main thrust of the DeZir is to talk about interior and exterior design, and it is only the first in a series of concept cars that eventually will lead to new production models. Van den Acker wants the design to express a human dimension of the Renault brand.
He plans a series of concept cars that, in the poetic way designers talk, will reflect “the bonds that are gradually forged between the brand and its customers at watershed moments of their lives, such as when they fall in love, start to explore the world, found a family, begin to work, take time to play and attain wisdom.”
The DeZir is for the first life-stage: falling in love. The red exterior is the color of passion. The interior design features many contrasting elements, such as a red lacquered finish on the driver’s door, and white leather for the passenger, playing on the idea that opposites fall in love.
The presentation of the car reveals several significant changes in Renault’s industrial-design department. In the future, the auto maker says it will use the same team of designers for both the concept car and the series car it presages. Additionally, where designers normally were anonymous under former design chief Patrick le Quement, the press release describing DeZir puts the spotlight on several members of van den Acker’s team.
“DeZir is a statement of our new formal design language, which conveys notions such as movement, sensuality and emotion through ideal proportions,” Axel Breun, director of concept-car and show-car design, says in the press release.
Partners in the concept-car project include Studio G for the body, Michelin SA for the 21-in. wheels and the Institute for Research and Coordination Acoustic/Music for sound management.
Renault is working with the French institute to define an audio signature for its electric cars.