Driver­less as charged

Frank­furt show­cases an elec­tri­fy­ing fu­ture

The Weekend Australian - Magazine - - LIFE - RE­NAULT SYMBIOZ

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.

philip king

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