Why We Need a French Electric Car From Outerspace
When I first saw the concept sketches for the DS E-Tense ahead of the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, the words “bio-mechanical French alien electric sex” immediately came to mind. Not to sound like a complete sci-fi nerd, but this electric concept is sexier than any Cylon out there. Hell, if this car actually goes into production someday it might end up being the most widely recognized otherworldly creation since the advent of the flying saucer.
Just a year after the official launch of the DS brand, the Citroen-based offshoot has released images of what the future of its electric strategy will likely look like, with 402 horsepower and zero emissions as its mating call. Slated for a Swiss debut, DS Automobiles says that this metallic green ametrine concept is just the beginning. “Our ambition was to create a high-performance electric GT. A car that embodies refinement, technology, and DS design. A car that inspires dreams. A car that gives you the overpowering urge to get behind the wheel.”
Featuring an outline that is reminiscent of what happens when a grand tourer coupé crossbreeds with an extra terrestrial sentient, the chrome-plated E-Tense has no windscreen on its back, utilizing a digital rear view screen instead. All of this high-def digital instrumentation comes to you via a 12-inch digital handset and a 10-inch touchscreen, which was created in collaboration with electronics specialist Coyote.
According to DS, it took over 800 hours to design, test, and produce the interior alone, as both the seat designs and the dashboard ate up a significant chunk of engineering time. The dash’s stretched mesh body has been made out of lightweight cold steel, and the steering wheel has a tulip-shape that is both design- and performance-oriented. Being that this is a high-end French prototype, no expense was spared along the way, and many of the vehicle’s internal accessories have been born out of collaborative projects with French luxury brands.
Inside there is this strange leather bag, which DS says is entirely hand-made in order to offer a nod to the “venerable tradition of French fine leather goods.” While we can only assume that it is carrying thermal detonators or alien transponders, DS assures us that its function is to either reinforce the driver’s seat so that “absolute safety is guaranteed,” or so that it can be removed in order to hold a race helmet. Timepiece technology has also been taken to a whole new level in the DS E-Tense as well, as the central console clock is removable and can be worn on the wrist at the owner’s discretion.
Since the car is completely silent on the outside, nine Focal Utopia speakers were slapped in so that the cabin could become an auditory arena. This is an interesting approach, as DS once again takes the path less traveled by choosing to partner with companies that rarely garner any attention from automakers, and we’re not just talking about the interior.
Utilizing parametric design to create things like that extremely aerodynamic grille, the E-Tense takes 3D printing to a whole new level as the automaker explains that it has created a concept car that “represents a road map for the future.”
Several more otherworldly additions include an illumination system that the automaker calls “DS LED VISION.” This active setup responds to driving conditions and inputs so that there is a welcome mode for drivers, a 20° wider illumination flux on both sides of the vehicle for improved peripheral visibility, and a highway function that widens the beam of light in order to better penetrate rain, snow, and fog.
As previously mentioned, the two-seat prototype has just over 400 horsepower, which helps it hit 60 in around 4.5 seconds, and rear-wheel drive for added performance fun. The monocoque chassis is manufactured out of carbon fiber and comes equipped with independent double wishbone suspension at all four corners, and since the powertrain batteries are located beneath the floor, the E-Tense’s center of gravity is extremely low. This means that this car will likely handle quite well under vigorous driving conditions.
From the carbon fiber diffuser and flat undertray to the one-off Michelin tires and forged 20-inch alloy wheels, this car has it all when it comes to out of this world engineering and performance. But sadly this is a Citroen, so we won’t be getting it or anything resembling it from the automaker in the foreseeable future. That’s unfortunate, because we feel that everything about this concept would sell well in any quadrant of the universe.