First-class connected driving from Renault concept
While the Renault stand at the 2018 Paris Motor Show might have featured an impressive selection of models from the manufacturer’s past as it celebrated 120 years of sustainable mobility, the emphasis was very much on the future of driving. Following up on the EZ-Go, an autonomous transit vehicle for multiple occupants that was launched in Geneva in March, Renault used its home country’s show to debut the follow-up—the EZ-Ultimo.
The concept vehicle was designed to appeal to those customers who are interested in a shared mobility service with a level of premium travel attached. Available on demand, for a single trip or on an hourly basis, EZ-Ultimo is specifically targeting business users, city travelers and tourists.
It is the third in Renault’s family of concepts that showcase the benefits of autonomous, electric and connected driving – alongside the possibilities of shared urban mobility services. EZ-Ultimo uses the same flexible platform that was deployed on the EZ-Go and Renault’s other take on the world of autonomous driving, the last-mile urban delivery solution, EZ-Pro. All three vehicles are underpinned by a chassis that houses an electric motor on the rear axle, allowing interior comfort and space to be maximized and a 300-kg (660-lb) battery pack. (No official power output has been specified.)
The push towards future connected, autonomous and electric technologies by the French manufacturer comes in response to the changing nature of customers and is part of a wider company objective to offer new mobility services through car-sharing solutions, ride-hailing services, short-term rentals and, by 2022, mobility services with autonomous robo-vehicles.
“As consumer trends change and people are enjoying ride-hailing services more and more, a new paradigm for mobility will emerge,” said Laurens van den Acker, SVP corporate design at the Paris show “Embodying this revolution, EZ-Ultimo offers a unique luxurious experience aboard a robo-vehicle that can be adapted depending on the service provider. Inspired by contemporary architecture, and completely integrated in future smart cities, EZ-Ultimo will provide an exclusive experience for all. With autonomous, electric, and connected cars, we are entering a new exciting era in automotive design.”
The car has been engineered to Level 4 autonomy, enabling it to connect to infrastructures, and adapt to an urban environment, motorway or a shuttle service on dedicated roads. To enhance the onboard autonomous element, Renault has created the the Augmented Editorial Experience (AEX). Described as a “realist immersive experience which combines personalized premium content, multi-media experiences and mobility,” AEX promises to turn travel time into a learning experience for future EZ-Ultimo passengers.
Reflecting the premium look and feel to the car, access is via a wide automatic opening and a rotating seat that slides to welcome passengers. For added passenger privacy, place facets on the top part of the side doors prevent people looking into the interior, which features a ranges of materials including wood, marble and leather.
Looking at the wider picture, Renault is aiming to lead the way in Europe when it comes to car-sharing. The manufacturer already has 5000 Zoes operating in eight major cities and has formed partnerships to enable this network to grow. In a bid to give Parisians the widest choice of electric mobility, a commercial offer has been established between Marcel (a ride-hailing service), Moov'In.Paris by Renault (a flexible rental scheme) and Renault Mobility (short term rental). By the end of 2019, a fleet of 2000 electric vehicles will be made available in France via the service.