Design Concept of the Day: Giugiaro Clipper

March 3, 2014 § Leave a comment

clipper smallNo, I’m not at Geneva yet – this is remote reporting. But the Italdesign-Giugiaro design house (now absorbed into the Volkswagen Group) has just unveiled a low-slung six-seater MPV concept called Clipper; it’s based on Volkswagen’s MQB platform (Golf, A3, Octavia, Leon etc.), and is good for 335 miles and 127mph from its twin-motored all-electric powertrain (a 148bhp motor at each axle, hence four-wheel drive). It’s got the obligatory showy concept car doors – front ones swinging up butterfly-style, the rear rear-hinged gull-wings. Seats are two x three rows; the batteries are housed under-floor giving a flat floor, there’s a ‘floating’ instrument panel with information projected into a perspex screen, and a rear-view camera to replace the interior mirror. The space between the seats accommodates a movable,  ‘mobile tunnel’ with 11-inch touchscreen for the control system, there’s a total loadspace of 900 litres, plus four iPads for passengers with a comms app/private network called Carlink. Oh, and there’s a second ‘vanette’ Ducati-branded version, with different doors.

  • “Elec­tric cars simply per­petuate cur­rent (unsus­tain­able) prac­tices and rep­resent a failure of ambition”, say Nicola Spurling and Dan Welch of the Sustainable Practices Research Group, berating a “techno-fix solution”. Yes indeed, more cycling is a Good Idea for short journeys and is certainly achievable/desirable to some extent, and the wider ‘need’ for driving caused by car-centric planning, out-of-town shopping centres etc does need to be addressed – but they write off the possibility of cleaning up the e-grid in parallel (citing a rather old paper in support), seem to think that the EVs of the future will still have “shorter ranges, long char­ging times” and “only ful­fill some of the func­tions of the con­ven­tional car”, and – in the blog post, at least – don’t look beyond like-for-like vehicle substitution (no mention of EV-shares, car clubs, multi-modal link-ups, etc.) nor at EVs’ role for businesses, fleets, or industrial applications (arguably where they can make more difference than in the private/consumer sector). Report summary, and useful primer on practice perspective for sustainability policy interventions here; full report (in which the driving/cycling substitution is an example of problem framing/targets for intervention) here.
  • And the view from industry… Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, confident on grid decarbonisation (amongst other issues): “In partnership with other automakers, industries and governments, we have the capability to reinvent the car for a new era, to provide sustainable mobility for all”.
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