the most ambitious electric car at the moment is made of cardboard

Citroën’s new concept car is a new way of looking at the electric car. Far from performance and innovation, but with a committed ecological consideration.

When it comes to thinking about future mobility, Citroën is never short of good ideas. Two years ago, the Chevron brand surprised its world with the Ami, an atypical vehicle both in its form and in its subscription sales model. This time, the manufacturer of the Stellantis Group goes even further by unveiling a vehicle that aims to redefine the standards of the automotive industry in the years to come. The goal is of course ambitious, but all-ë or Oli is a concept that has the advantage of asking important questions in terms of ecological impact and environmental responsibility in a broad sense. The new Citroën concept wants to be a model in terms of design, use and consumption. That’s how it was intended.

Lego style design

With Oli, the first shock is visual. If it takes the form of a compact SUV intended for the family (4.20 m long, 1.90 m wide and 1.65 m high), the Citroën vehicle surprises with its particularly offbeat aesthetics. Halfway between a lunar rover and a Lego car, the design revolves around a perfectly flat hood, a straight windshield and a rear that can be removed to transform it into a pickup truck. This impression of a small cube on wheels is reinforced by the huge 20-inch rims, which emphasize the distinctive features of the whole. Finally, it is probably not trivial, but Citroën has chosen Oli to unveil its new logo, as vintage as possible, as it is inspired by its productions from the 1920s.

On Oli it is also possible to find some elements of Citroën’s pick-up spirit, the very one that gave birth to the buggy version of Ami. Thus, mounting rails are provided to add accessories as needed.
Even more amazing than its looks, it’s the materials that Oli is made with that make it a concept beyond that. In fact, Citroën’s specifications were very strict. The SUV had to weigh less than a ton. By comparison, current electric SUVs weigh more than twice as much. To manage to facilitate its concept, because the manufacturer has therefore called on partners, BASF and Goodyear in this case, and on rather surprising materials.

Will the car of the future be made of cardboard?

In fact, the roof, bonnet and part of the body are made from recycled corrugated cardboard. It’s obviously cardboard reinforced with fiberglass and resin, but the weight gain is impressive compared to a traditional vehicle. As for the cabin, it is mainly composed of 3D printed elements based on thermoplastic polyurethane, which would have the advantage of being both light and comfortable. Sobriety required, there is no oversized screen inside Oli. The driver will simply use his smartphone to display entertainment information. Only an LED strip, controlled by the smartphone, gives access to the main information, such as autonomy for example.
On the Goodyear side, the Eagle Go solution is in the spotlight on tires. In fact, their tread, made up of 92% renewable materials, makes them an accessory that adheres to the spirit of the vehicle. In addition, they have a sensor to monitor tire pressure and wear.

Reasonable performance for a responsible car

In many ways, Oli could be called Ami in the family version. This is especially the case on the technical side, as the Citroën concept does not really try to play in performance. On the contrary. With a top speed of 110 km/h (is it really useful to drive faster?) and a small battery of 40 kWh, Citroën’s concept car does not promise the Moon. Nevertheless, its limited power and contained weight allow it to get the most out of its accumulator, i.e. approximately 400 km of autonomy.

To achieve such a result, Oli also allows himself a smaller air conditioning system and uses the reduced size of the windows to reduce the heat inside the cabin.

Not the car of the future, but a vision of the future

Finally, Oli’s last environmentally responsible argument lies in its manufacturing process. Although a large part of the materials are recyclable or made from recycled materials, the various elements of the vehicle are also designed to reduce production costs. As with Ami, several parts can be fitted at the front or back at the same time. Others are used as a mirror, that is, in one direction on the right side of the vehicle and in another on its opposite side. Above all, Oli is devoid of small parts and buttons, which certainly adorn most cabins, but which require a specific approach to their integration.

In the end, a question arises: what future for Oli? Of course, Citroën’s concept is not destined to see the light of day, but like Dacia’s Manifesto, the manufacturer wants to prove that it is capable of producing cars that take current ecological considerations into account. It is up to future buyers to show that they are ready to change the paradigm in terms of cars. Because until now, moderation and decline are not really concepts that could be applied to the automotive industry. What if Oli had launched a new movement?

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