Citroën unveiled a new all-electric concept car called oli, an exercise in weight reduction and resource usage. With speed limited to 110 km/h (68 mph) and acceleration close to the classic 2CV model, the concept car gains a wider range and significantly improved battery lifespan.
The target vehicle weight of around 1000kg make it significantly lighter than most comparable compact SUVs. As a result, its all-electric powertrain needs only a 40kWh battery to deliver a target range of up to 400 km (248 miles). By limiting top speed to 110km/h (68 mph) to maximize efficiency, excellent consumption of 10kWh/100km is realistic, and recharging from 20% to 80% takes just 23 minutes.
The 20-inch wheel and tire combination fitted to oli marries a new hybrid wheel prototype design with a conceptual, sustainable and intelligent tire co-created with Goodyear.
Because full aluminum wheels are expensive and energy intensive to produce and full steel wheels are heavy, the decision was taken to blend the two. The resulting hybrid wheels are 15% lighter than the equivalent full steel wheel, contributing an overall vehicle weight reduction of 6kg.
Citroën partnered with Goodyear to use the Eagle GO concept tire, which combines sustainability with longevity and intelligent technology for monitoring the tire’s condition and health.
The tire tread compound is made of nearly all sustainable or recycled materials, including sunflower oils and rice husk ash silica, as well as pine tree resins and full natural rubber which replace synthetic, petroleum-based materials.
Goodyear has set an objective for the Eagle GO concept tire to achieve up to 500,000km lifespan through reuse of the sustainable carcass and because the 11 mm tread depth can be renewed twice across the lifetime of the tire. The tire is also equipped with Goodyear SightLine technology, which includes a sensor that monitors a variety of tire health parameters constantly throughout its life.
The minimalistic approach paved the way for a refreshing and innovative design. Various components have been radically reinterpreted and constructed by using materials in a different context. For example, the complete backrest is made of a flexible 3D-printed plastic material (Ultrasint TPU88A). The open lattice structure provides natural air flow, replacing all ventilators in the seat.
Instead of hard-to-clean carpets, oli features a single-piece, modular floor covering made in partnership with BASF from Expanded Thermoplastic PolyUrethane (E-TPU). The foam is as elastic as rubber but lighter, extremely resilient and highly resistant to abrasion. It can be replaced altogether if an owner prefers a new color. The floor is also covered with a highly elastic and waterproof coating and can be easily hosed clean. Recyclable TPU “drain plugs” in the floor make it stress-free to remove sand and seaweed or mud and mulch after a hot day at the beach or a wet day trekking through the forest.
For this, as well as to produce about twenty parts, the competence of the 3D printing service office, Sculpteo in France, a brand of BASF, was used.
To execute Citroën’s signature design element, partner Plastic Omnium helped create a ‘mono material’ approach to facilitate easy recycling with strong but light side protection and 100% recyclable bumpers containing 50% recycled materials. Each wheel arch is capped with an identical, strong recycled plastic protector with a horizontal top, echoing the contrast theme used for the windows and lighting modules.
Central bumper sections, like those used in Ami, are identical front and rear. Below, triangular infra-red ‘handles’ are, in fact, strong hooks which would help drivers tow another vehicle out of the mud, or pull a large stone out of the way.
The hood, roof, and trunk are made of panels combining BASF’s Elastoflex polyurethane system and the Elastocoat spray paint system. Due to the honeycomb sandwich structure, these panels are so stable that you can even stand on them; this is part of the vehicle’s functionality.
Oli has no sound or navigation system; most customers have a mobile phone and portable speaker, which can be plugged in to the dashboard and automatically connected to the vehicle.
Many of the new components are designed and manufactured from materials from the same chemical product family. Bonded and welded components made from different materials are a challenge in mechanical recycling. For this reason, the designers created as many components as possible from a single material.
Citroën worked closely with BASF during development and design. Innovative solutions from the chemical company played a vital role in this co-creation endeavor.
The collaboration with BASF was a key factor in the design of oli and in developing an electric vehicle that’s as fun and efficient as possible for the near future. The innovative electric car runs counter to the trend toward increasingly heavier and more complex vehicles, instead focusing on ease and simplicity. It demonstrates how to keep environmental impact to a minimum, while bringing back the fun of a functional, electric vehicle.—Laurence Hansen, Citroën Product & Strategy Director