After Mazda, Laurens van den Acker has turned his sights on Renault, in the form of the DeZir concept car, writes DAVE MOORE.
Unlike in Europe, where Renault sells in big numbers and is seen as something of a market and technology leader, the company is but a small player in New Zealand.
This is a pity, for, with the establishment of Laurens van den Acker as its design department chief, there is more than a suggestion that the French concern is ready to flaunt the rules for future transport design and technology.
Renault has provided a first glimpse of its latest concept car, DeZir, to be revealed at the Paris Motor Show in September. Renault says DeZir illustrates a commitment to more emotional styling.
Powered by an electric motor, DeZir is proof that electric vehicles and a love of cars are by no means incompatible. It is the first project to have been led by van den Acker and marks the start of a sequence of concept cars that will provide an insight into Renault Design's vision for the future and lays the foundations for the styling cues of Renault's forthcoming vehicles.
Renault's new signature credo is "Drive the Change" which, the company says, explores its styling roots to express a powerful human dimension via a new strategy founded on the notion of the "life cycle".
"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," explains Axel Breun, Renault's director of concept car and show car design.
The result is a two-seater coupe with sides that feature a combination of flush and recessed forms that play on contrasting light patterns.
The Z in the name DeZir is a direct reference to Renault's zero- emission ZE signature. Several features of its design are suggestive of two qualities readily associated with electric mobility, namely advanced technology and light weight. Indeed, the recessed, linear styling of the front air intake and the entire rear end convey an impression of lightness in addition to efficiently channelling battery-cooling air from the front to the rear.
RENAULT DEZIR DIMENSIONS
* Length: 4225mm
* Width: 1986mm
* Height: 1163mm
* Ground clearance: 110mm
* Wheelbase: 2582mm
* Front track: 1600mm
* Rear track: 1705mm TECHNICAL DATA
* Motor: Electric synchronous motor
* Maximum output: 110kW and 226Nm
* Top speed: 190kmh
* Zero-100kmh: 5 seconds
* Battery: Lithium-ion (24 kW/h)
* Range: 160km
* Transmission: Rear wheel drive
* Drive: Electric with active differential
* Chassis: Tubular steel frame
* Tyres: 245/35 R 21
* Brakes: 356mm ventilated discs
* Coefficient of drag: 0.25
* Kerb weight: 830kg