French automaker Renault has just unveiled its latest zany electric concept. Called Frendzy, this electrifying vehicle is a 14-foot-long whimsical design study that showcases some of the automaker's innovative technologies.
For motivation, the Frendzy makes use of the electric gear that powers the Renault Kangoo Z.E. Renault has not revealed the Frendzy's estimated range, but does claim the battery-powered concept tops out at 80 miles per hour.
Renault pitches the Frendzy as a multi-purpose vehicle, saying that it transforms from a workaday vehicle to a family-hauling machine on weekends. Renault describes the Frendzy's transformation like this:
According to Renault, the Frendzy is a "multi-faceted friend" that automatically tackles friendly tasks, including changing the orientation of the exterior mirrors, setting the interior mood lighting and altering the vehicle's pedestrian warning system as the Frendzy transforms from "work" to "family" mode.On weekdays, Frendzy is a vehicle that adapts to the requirements of the business user, with a large external screen that can display useful messages or information or advertising messages, either while parked or on the move. Come the weekend, the vehicle transforms itself into a family vehicle, with a comfortable passenger seat and, in the rear, a big bench seat. Depending on their mood of the moment, children can watch a film or play games on the touch-sensitive pad which slides out from the back of the driver's seat. They can even draw on a special slate integrated into the sliding door.
Given these zany features, it seems unlikely the Frendzy will enter production. However, we do know that this electric concept will make its world debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show in September. Hit the jump to catch some video of the electrified Frendzy. Looking for more details? Check out Renault's press release after the jump.
After the notion of love expressed by DeZir, discovering the world with Captur and the establishment of a family with R-Space, Frendzy presents the world of work. It is the fourth step in Renault's design strategy based on the different stages of the human life cycle. Frendzy is efficient and modern as a work tool, yet sporting and warmly welcoming for the family. A multi-faceted friend!
A multi-faceted friend
Renault's latest concept car has a dual personality. These days, professional and personal lives are so intricately interwoven that drivers find themselves permanently channel-hopping between one world and the other. The role of Frendzy is to be a partner that takes the strain out of this lifestyle.
On the passenger's side, there's no glazing and no centre pillar, just one conventional door and one sliding side door which incorporates a 37-inch widescreen display. This is the world of work. The driver's side, complete with side windows, still no centre pillar, but with centre opening doors represents the world of the family. Ease of loading and ease of entry go without saying in both worlds!
On weekdays, Frendzy is a vehicle that adapts to the requirements of the business user, with a large external screen that can display useful messages or information (such as "making deliveries" or "back in five minutes", the battery-charging method or the remaining charge) or advertising messages, either whilst parked or on the move. Come the weekend, the vehicle transforms itself into a family vehicle, with a comfortable passenger seat and, in the rear, a big bench seat. Depending on their mood of the moment, children can watch a film or play games on the touch-sensitive pad which slides out from the back of the driver's seat. They can even draw on a special slate integrated into the sliding door.
The driver, likewise, can adapt the vehicle to his or her needs. In 'work' mode, the rear-view mirrors sit upright and the interior lighting is green; in 'family' mode, the mirrors swivel round to the horizontal position and the interior is bathed in a radiant orange ambience.
A futuristic yet simple interior
The driver's side cockpit is designed along the theme of a futuristic 'work bench' featuring a structure which appears to be made from molten metal. Green light emanating from the dashboard brings this smooth and organic architecture to life. These lights signify the 'work' mode and tie in with the colour displayed on the exterior of the vehicle.
In the 'family' mode, the atmosphere becomes warmer as the green lights turn orange - a subtle reference to the colour of the previous concept car, the family-oriented R-Space.
Dominant throughout is the sense that the interior forms a cosy cabin which echoes the simple yet practical world of camping, and this is further reflected by extensive use of wood. Indeed, as much a symbol of warmth as it is of strength and timelessness, wood forms a link between the two modes. The leather latticework seats and removable accessories also refer to the camping metaphor.
On a practical level, the fabric roof adapts itself to the shape of bulky objects, magnetic fixings allow the load to be secured to the floor, and modular stowage systems are a practical bonus for business users. The single-piece rear seat is integrated into the floor, while the front seat
folds forward in order to free up space. Thanks to its practical, modular interior, Frendzy lends itself perfectly to the requirements of traders and tradesmen.
Sensors located on each door sill log the loading or unloading of packages equipped with RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification) chips containing key information such as destination address, weight and dimensions. This gives users a real-time inventory of the goods being carried in their vehicle.
Frendzy's powertrain is the same as that of Kangoo Z.E., although the charging point - located under the Renault logo at the front of the vehicle - is identical to that on ZOE Preview.
The chief new feature of Frendzy as an electric vehicle is the extensive work that has gone into the sounds it produces. This work was carried out in conjunction with IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique / Musique). Electric vehicles are silent, so one of the big
challenges facing Renault is customizing the sound they produce for safety reasons, notably at slow speeds.
Frendzy will be on display on the Renault stand at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show!