Driverless as charged
Frankfurt showcases an electrifying future
Electric cars and autonomous driving systems were centre stage at the recent Frankfurt motor show, where the industry, still reeling in the wake of Volkswagen’s “Dieselgate” scandal, was keen to show it has a safe, low-emission vision for the future. Here are some of the highlights… Renault believes cars can no longer be designed “in isolation from the ecosystem surrounding us” and Symbioz shows a vision for 2030 in which the car and home complement each other.
So, in addition to just the car, Renault’s stand featured a purpose-built house in which Symbioz becomes “a snug, mobile, comfortable and modular extra room” with a number of possible layouts. It can be an open space such as a living room or a closed sanctuary for relaxation or work. The house even features a special lifting platform that can raise Symbioz to the bedroom or rooftop terrace, where it can be a cubby with a view. Music, social media and digital subscriptions are always within reach. House and car share the same architecture – a steel frame with glazed surfaces – and the same materials inside, from wood to copper, marble, fabric and porcelain.
As an electric vehicle, Symbioz also works with the energy requirements of the house, supplementing it when required or recharging in time for the next trip. Two electric motors with 500kW drive the rear wheels, providing acceleration to 100km/h in less than six seconds and 500km of driving range. The batteries can be recharged to 80 per cent capacity in 20 minutes via an inductive system. It’s also autonomous to level 4, which is the goal of most car-makers. This means the car can be driven but doesn’t need to be. There may be places and circumstances that the system cannot handle but within specified areas the driver never has to intervene.