The Renault Morphoz concept was one of the stars of the 2020 Geneva No Show. Occupying the Family petal of Renault’s ‘Life Flower’ design strategy, the concept is a four-passenger SUV that can transform from a 4400mm-long urban electric car to a 4800mm long-distance cruiser by extending its overall length. This provides additional volume within the cabin and lengthens the wheelbase to fit more batteries into the platform. It’s fictional of course, but it’s also genius.
Driving a car in a built up urban environment can be a chore, even more so if it’s a large car. They’re not only harder to maneuver but also more difficult to park. On the flip-side, a small car can feel cramped when going on an extended road trip, and can’t fit as much luggage. The Morphoz concept is a proposal that looks to remedy this conflict. The video above depicts how the concept can extend and contract to suit both use cases, while also significantly altering its aesthetic character.
The transformation is achieved by meshing fins within the headlamps and in the rear bumper. The morphing action is very well done – poetic even – as the car’s character and DRG alters. When the Morphoz is fully extended in Travel mode yellow elements are visible, adding yet another dimension (pun intended) to the transformation.
“Bold in its modularity, innovative in its design, human centric through its ability to facilitate sharing and exchange, the Morphoz concept perfectly embodies the new ‘Living Tech’ philosophy of Renault’s design,” says Laurens van den Acker, Executive Vice President for Corporate Design at Groupe Renault. “Technology in all its forms – design, on-board intelligence, connectivity, interior layout – serves a new travel experience for all vehicle users.”
Many manufacturers are working to develop impactful user experience within their product lines; elements that work together to not only tell the brand story but also make the use case more intuitive and pleasant. The Morphoz concept really harnesses this aspect of design.
By offering two different modes, Travel and City, the shape-shifting concept effectively alters the way users interact with the vehicle. It imagines autonomous driving and the interaction between the occupants, a shared vehicle scenario where customers can use the interior to relax, and a driving scenario where a huge deployable screen presents itself atop the IP. The beautifully appointed seats wouldn’t be out of place in a luxury hotel or private club, but their yellow color adds a further dash of sophisticated modernity to the sumptuous cabin environment.
Besides the altering cabin layout, the Morphoz concept also proposes adding a battery pack by driving up to a dedicated pod. The hood moves forward from the A-pillar, adding length to the wheelbase and enabling the platform to accommodate an additional an 50 kWh battery. This more than doubles the standard 40kWh pack capacity to 90 kWh, adding additional range.
This isn’t the first time Renault has shown a morphing vehicle. The Zoom concept created by Renault and Matra made an appearance at the 1992 Paris motor show. But while the Zoom was somewhat crude urban dweller designed to facilitate movement within the urban scenario, the Morphoz represents the height of luxury for many single car owning European families living in metropolitan areas.
We hope to have the opportunity to pore over the Renault Morphoz concept at a future auto show (Paris?), but in the meantime here are some sketches from exterior designer Marco Brunori and interior designers Maximilian Kandler and Damien Durand 🙂