Renault Morphoz electric concept revealed
The Renault Morphoz – a Nissan Qashqai-sized SUV concept previewing the company’s new CMF-EV electric-car platform – has been revealed. While the Morphoz is little more than a design study for now, its technology will underpin two large electric vehicles that the brand will launch by 2022.
Renault says the Morphoz offers a "revolutionary solution" to electric-car range anxiety by showcasing a platform that can lengthen to make space for additional batteries. This boosts the standard 40kWh battery with an additional 50kWh, taking available range from 249 miles to 435 miles.
By using flexible panels and hinged bodywork, the Morphoz can stretch from 4.4 to 4.8 metres at the flick of a switch. This opens up an area in the car’s floorpan, into which the bigger battery can be inserted. As soon as the user no longer needs the additional range, the cells can be removed and the car returned to its starting position.
The shorter body is referred to as ‘City’ mode; lengthening the Morphoz into its ‘Travel’ configuration also reveals a more practical interior and a larger boot. The concept has only four seats, although the front passenger seat hinges at the base allowing the occupant to face rearwards should they wish.
The interior is made from recycled and sustainable materials, including a floor built from used yoghurt pots, plus wood on the doors and wool for the seats. The cabin centres around a large transmission tunnel, which houses a wireless phone charger and a screen for the rear-seat passengers. The dials comprise a series of digital displays and there's a 10.2-inch screen on the dashboard; the car can be locked and unlocked using artificial intelligence (AI).
But while the Morphoz is an impressive display of design and engineering, it’s the clever modular platform that'll eventually appear in showrooms. While it’s unlikely Renault will offer a car that can stretch to fit extra batteries, it previews a scalable architecture that'll underpin a variety of larger family cars – including a Volkswagen Golf-sized hatchback and a chunkier SUV.
Speaking to DrivingElectric, Gilles Normand, Renault’s senior vice-president for electric vehicles and mobility services said: “The platform is modular and flexible and can be used for several applications. It'll allow us two cars to sit above the ZOE. The more cars you have, the better the scale effect.”
He also confirmed that the next generation of Renault electric cars would offer “more than 550 kilometres (342 miles)” on a single charge, and “high charging capability”. These models will therefore have the necessary hardware for Europe’s growing 150kW charging network, resulting in around 150 kilometres (93 miles) of range being added in 15 minutes.
The electric technology will allow Renault to launch a Volkswagen Golf-sized family car with the kind of interior space more commonly associated with models from the class above.
“Morphoz shows our flexibility,” Normand told us. “[CMF-EV] is a platform that can accommodate different batteries; thin batteries or tall batteries – for crossovers or sedans. The capability of EV means it has the ability to go to every segment.”