Nowadays every automaker tends to build good-looking cars. What do we mean by good looks? The car has to be elegant, easy to the eye and of course futuristic! Artists and designers spend hours trying to come up with a completely new concept of a vehicle because no one wants to spend money on more of the same. We don’t deny that there are indeed some great vehicles out there that keep the original appearance with every new model release by face lifting and refining, but groundbreaking hits and cars that leave a mark in the world surely don’t belong to that group. Now imagine a vehicle that can be used as a spare room or a smart electric grid or a mobile multimedia center. Was it hard? We bet it was. Fortunately, fellows at Renault recently built the Renault Symbioz. The name is a play on the word symbiosis. The company decided to put together a car and your home so that you can drive around in a certain kind of ‘home extension.’ You probably don’t quite understand the concept, but we’ll try to explain.
We’ll just be frank now and say that this car is huge. Morphing a living room into a car is quite a challenge, so there’s no surprise that this car looks humongous. It is 4.7 meters long, 1.98 meters wide and 1.35 meters tall. Even though it is huge, the car looks slick and futuristic. It is dominated by a floating top standing on a more muscular lower half. Carbon fiber is the material used on the body panels, and the prime color of this vehicle is the color of copper. It looks kind of glossy, and we have to say that it is gorgeous. This car appeared with that paint job at the Frankfurt Motor Show 2017.
When it comes to headlights and tail lights, they are C-shaped. It is probably due to company’s current crop of production vehicles. What’s really interesting is the set of effects featured on the tail lights. Small lit fins indicate how hard the car is braking and the aerodynamic rear wing gets graphics that transition into fog lights under the bumper. There are also various logos that light up to show when the car is in autonomous driving mode.
When we looked down at the corners of the body, we immediately noticed the unique wheel design. Nowadays the whole world seems to kind of support those green movements that are all for protecting the environment, and we couldn’t help but notice that these actually look like bicycle wheels. And everyone knows that bicycles are eco-friendly. The rollers are wrapped in Michelin tires which means more efficiency. Of course, we were also informed about the ‘autonomous sensors’ that include cameras, radars and various other gadgets mounted on the back.
Now that we have mentioned quite a few of the features we have to discuss the house part that comes with the Symbioz. The company really stepped up their game with that. The house is 21 meters long, it is 7 meters high, and it is 8 meters wide. The whole house provides as much as 120 square meters. You might want to know who were magicians that designed all of this and according to Renault, the responsible artists are from Marchi Architectes. Of course, they didn’t do it all by themselves, they got help from various other prominent French designers.
Considering that the Symbioz is ‘an extension’ of the home it shares some of the attributes of the model house. The color scheme is similar, however, materials used for construction include glazed surface, steel frame and wood details. Some of the other materials are marble, fabric, porcelain and copper. We speculate that these serve the purpose of lighting the house properly. But there are also artificial lighting devices in this home to help do the trick. You are probably mind blown by now, but this isn’t all. The lighting actually changes depending on the various car modes. There is a different ambient when the vehicle is charging for example or when it is in the standby mode.
Sliding doors are slowly becoming a craze. Renault claims that getting in and out has never been so easy. The doors split open and slide towards the front and back. No B-pillar is featured, and that means easier entrance into the cabin space. If that doesn’t make you feel like entering your house, we really don’t know what does.
Renault also praised their ‘D-segment’ dimensions in the Symbioz. Huge modular interior is what they aimed at, and it was done spectacularly. We believe that this cabin design makes some of the E-segment rivals look silly. There is no transmission tunnel and that only means even more space. You’ve probably noticed that there is a customizable layout in the cabin. That’s only one more perk of not having a transmission tunnel.
Designers at Renault emphasized how they focused on transferring your living room into your car. In their words ‘The aim is to travel in a bright, fengshui space that is much like a large living room in a house, with wide glazed contours.’ Of course, your living room isn’t complete if it only has fancy furniture. Technology-wise this car is a wonder. The infotainment system is out of this world so if you have a decent wi-fi connection you’ll be able to browse the web, bore yourself to death on social networks, listen to music or even watch YouTube videos. The company also thought about workaholics, they promised that you will be able to work and easily communicate from your car if you want to.
Renault took pride in the HD OLED display that is mounted inside and is 31.5 inches long. To be frank, that’s almost bigger than my living room TV. On top of that, you have onboard touchscreen infotainment systems that are mounted into seat belts so that you can control the entertainment system without getting up.
Considering that the company promised an extensive all-electric powertrain we were really curious to find out how they plan to fulfill that promise. Renault intends to implement a duo of permanent-magnet electric motors on the rear axle with each motor driving one of the wheels. Torque levels will vary which means great handling and the RWD configuration ensures sporty driving experience. Thanks to the RWD we’ll also get more cabin space.
When it comes to numbers, we were hit with 670 hp (500 kW and 487 pound-feet (660 Nm) of torque. If that doesn’t count as a crazy promise, then we don’t know anything about cars. Renault also quoted the 0-to-62 mph dash to be done in less than 6 seconds and if they deliver their promises about horsepower we are sure that they will make this figure possible. However, if you remember we mentioned marble as one of the used materials and that was for marble table. Marble tables are generally quite heavy so it would be kind of crazy to see a car that has something like that inside of it reach 62 mph in 5.4 seconds per say.
When it comes to battery Renault claimed that range per charge stands at 500 km with the battery capacity of 72 kWh. The company also promised a stunning 80% charge in 20 minutes if you use inductive charging. We do encourage you to take this with a pinch of salt since Renault projected these numbers to be realistic by 2030. Do not fool yourself and expect the same efficiency with the next product cycle for modern EVs. To expect that is ludicrous.
As we said, Symbioz is integrated with the home and can serve as a power grid. Let’s delve deeper into that. If you have no trip planned the smart energy grid will keep a minimal charge in the car. The charge will be enough if you need a short trip, but it won’t last for the full 311 miles. However, if you decided to go somewhere, more power will be delivered to the car’s battery, but the central heating system will be turned off in the house. Engineers aimed at the greater electric efficiency with the smart grid feature. We would also like to underline that the onboard electric power will also be used to power the home in peak hours so as to reduce cost. It can also serve as a backup generator should the power go out. If you don’t like the power system as is, you can manually program it through the systems in your home or in the car.
WHAT DO WE MAKE OF THIS?
We have to admit that our minds were blown. This concept is a brave move, and if Renault succeeds at actually producing the car, then we’ll witness a truly revolutionary moment in the automotive industry. On the other hand, if they fail oh boy will they become a laughing stock for every car enthusiast on the globe. In the end, we hope that they’ll succeed. No one believed Steve Jobs when he promised a revolutionary new phone, the iPhone, but look at things now. He went down as one of the greatest businessmen in the history. Go for it Renault! We are all rooting for you!