Renault has unveiled its latest vision for future mobility: the EZ-Ultimo concept. The star of Renault’s stand at the 2018 Paris Motor Show, it’s described by the company as a “premium and shared robo-vehicle”. In reality, that makes it something like an autonomous first-class train carriage for the road.
What is the Renault EZ-Ultimo?
Renault says it wants to “re-invent life on board”, turning the car into a place for work, rest, play or relaxation. Anything we might do at home or the office should be possible on the move. We’re already getting others to do the driving for us, reckons the company, with the rise of lift-hailing apps and services.
“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 of corporate design at Renault.
The EZ Ultimo is the next logical step. It sounds very similar to Volvo’s vision of an autonomous pod, the 360c concept, which was pitched as a threat to the short-haul airline industry.
Funky French styling
Similar in ethos to the 360c, the EZ-Ultimo is also similar in silhouette. It’s very much a carriage rather than a traditional car, but futuristic wheels, angular flourishes and artistic lighting liven up the design. While the Volvo’s clean-cut Scandinavian lines are appealing, the Renault enjoys flashes of French flair.
“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,” says Renault.
A luxurious office on wheels
When the doors slide to one side, you get your first view of the cabin. It shares more with the living space of a modern apartment than a car. It’s high-class, too, utilising wood, leather and even marble for a “relaxing and enjoyable drive”.
By comparison with the Volvo, it does seem less versatile. There’s no bed for cross-continental overnight hauls, for example. Instead, you have office-style seating and workspaces. That, together with its new Augmented Editorial Experience (AEX), is how Renault aims to “re-invent travel time”.
AEX is what Renault calls a “realist immersive experience which combines personal premium content, multi-media experiences and mobility”. We take that to mean big screens for working and watching on the go.
Overall, the EZ-Ultimo is a curious take on a future we’re still uneasy about. Nevertheless, such new types of car are giving designers freedoms many before couldn’t have dreamed about, and yielding interesting results.