Frankfurt 2017: Renault Symbioz

12 September 2017 | by Farah Alkhalisi

The latest in Renault’s ‘cycle’ of concept cars is a kind of Avantime-meets-Trezor, but fully-wired, connected and domesticated: it’s a car to go with a smart house – its energy systems, communications and data all integrated. “They look like each other, talk to each other, and share the same ecosystem, evolving around you,” says Laurens van den Acker, Renault’s corporate VP for design (above left, with matching shoes). “The car is an extra room which you can park where you want, the car can travel within the house [via sliding doors].”

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Renault worked with architects, engineers and planners on this all-electric, autonomous ‘extra room’, which is suitably kitted out with lounge-style furniture – to be enjoyed further with the steering wheel and pedals retracted in fully-autonomous mode, and in different cabin configurations. “It’s as liveable as a house,” says van den Acker. And Symbioz can even power the house it’s connected to: “they share the same energy, they’re both electric, one can be charged by the other. The car can redistribute energy to the house. They share data, you can access digital [services] that move with you. The car is moving with you not just physically, but virtually. It’s a new living space for a new freedom.”

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The design language of the Trezor (Geneva 2017) is translated here into a family car format, with a generous-width glasshouse roof – the main aspect of the design inspired by architecture, says director of Renault concept cars Stephane Janin*, who is clear that for all the Symbioz is a living room on wheels, it’s still very much a car. It’s one that reflects the Espace, Avantime and even Vel Satis in terms of Renault’s thinking about space, comfort, airiness and day-to-day experience, but one which is also forward-looking in its technology, conception and execution.

*More to follow later, from our interview with Stephane Janin