Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro in his 80th birthday year, this electric concept is rather tucked away at Paris (it actually made its debut at the rather niche Grand Basel show), but as you’d expect from the great man, it marries classical styling with some fascinating thoughts about modern cars and their possibilities.
It creates an interesting approach to the new architectures which electric powertrains can enable. “We wanted to have a sedan with a new concept of access, without the A pillar, with sliding glass in front and the four seats completely identical, equal,” Giugiaro told CDN.
“It is electric, four-wheel drive, a new concept of a classic sedan. We want to reinvent the architecture of the sedan with this particular access,” he continued. This, the second prototype has been developed in collaboration with Envision Energy, a Chinese energy firm.
The exterior shape is striking and attractively curvaceous – and large (over 5 metres long and 1.48 metres high), but the interior is where Giugiaro has explored the advantages that an electric powertrain brings. There is no A pillar – you enter by sliding the windscreen towards the front on three tracks: two on the bonnet and one on the roof. The central longitudinal structure also has hinges for the second-row, gullwing-style opening passenger windows. The doors open at the same time as the windscreen and rear window. Once inside the car, there is a feeling of space created by the roof design. The large transparent roof dome is wraparound. Without the A-pillar it starts from the bonnet and reaches the B-pillar.
Both the wrap-around windscreen and rear window can be adjusted at will, and when moving at low speeds. The absence of the conventional windscreen in the doors has liberated the space – there are deep, compartmentalised cubby holes in the doors for storage, required because there is also no glovebox, but the space in the doors is bigger than the average glovebox by far. Above the armrest, a flap also allows access to a document compartment that replaces the one normally provided under the dashboard, “which is rather inconvenient,” commented Giugiaro.
Giugiaro demonstrated how to adjust and fold away the UX flatscreen which sits just in front of the driver’s armrest. When folded down, the feeling of space in the front is notable. There is also a large screen running the length of the IP. “There are a lot of technology solutions [in this car]” said Giugiaro. “Electric is a system that allows the design layout to have a lot of new solutions.”
“Usually you don’t have four identical seats, but this time, because it is full electric you have a lot of space to manage. Behind the rear seats there is also a big space in the rear or the seats, and the boot can fit four suitcases,” he explained.
The concept’s name, Sibylla, was chosen in reference to the figure from Latin mythology endowed with the ability to provide answers and predict the future. This connects to the ability of the EnOS™ platform to make the car smart within the wider energy ecosystem, able to provide data from the external world and support the future of e-mobility. It is also a fitting tribute to Giorgetto Giugiaro’s mother – named Sibilla.