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by Tim Beissmann

The future of Renault has been unveiled for the first time overnight in an all-new electric concept car that, according to its designers, was inspired by the emotion of falling in love.

The Renault DeZir – previewed in these images before its official debut at the 2010 Paris Motor Show – is the first project led by new design chief Laurens van den Acker. The DeZir marks both the beginning of a sequence of concept cars that will provide an insight into Renault’s vision for the future of design and lays the foundations for upcoming production vehicles.

Renault’s new signature “Drive the Change” explores the notion of vehicles as emotional beings linked closely to the theme of the “life cycle”.

Renault says falling in love is the first stage in its life cycle, and alluded to the five subsequent stages (presumably each with a concept vehicle of its own): begin to explore the world, start a family, begin work, take time out to play, and wisdom.

All future life cycle vehicles will be created under the new design language, which has three key words at its core: simple, sensuous, and warm.

The DeZir is no exception, according to the car’s exterior stylist, Yann Jarsalle, who said the deep red, rear-wheel drive coupe exudes passion.

“My early source of inspiration stemmed from the liquid sensation, wave-like movement and contrasts in light associated with certain rippled surfaces. By directly laying out volumes and not just joining together a number of surfaces by lines, I felt more in tune with the world of sculpture than with that of architecture,” he said.

Renault says the DeZir’s face is aimed at recalling the brand’s styling heritage and paves the way for future models.

“The front-end design previews the new front-end identity that is poised to become a feature of all Renault models in the future,” it said in a statement.

Individual styling highlights of the DeZir include the backlit “eyelid” headlamps, the “ying and yang” gull-wing doors that are hinged differently on the left and the right, and the one-piece, two-seater cocoon-inspired white bench seat.

Drive-wise, the “Z” in the concept’s name alludes to Renault’s Z.E. zero emissions strategy, with the DeZir powered by a vertically mounted 24kWh lithium-ion battery that provides a range of 160km.

Power and torque are 110kW and 226Nm respectively and lead to acceleration from 0-100km/h in just 5.0 seconds.

KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) technology, as seen in Formula One cars, allows the driver to give the car an extra boost thanks to the energy collected from decelerating.

Renault says the central touchscreen incorporates all of the functionality of a smart phone with video game inspired graphics, while the internal acoustics have been designed with IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique) to “define the sound that best reflects DeZir’s personality”.




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