Citroen’s newest concept car is called 19_19 and it was design to express the French automaker’s vision for “ultra-comfort” and extended mobility.
On display at VivaTech in Paris on May 16, the 19_19 Concept will look to entice the crowd with its all-electric range of 800 km (497 miles), suspended cabin technology (Progressive Hydraulic Cushion suspension, combined with smart active control), and autonomous driving features.
A UFO on wheels
Citroen went as far as to call this concept “a true UFO in the automotive sector,” which is perhaps somewhat appropriate since it was inspired by the worlds of aviation and interior design, and has an overall streamlined exterior design.
In fact, the French automaker claims that this concept’s body resembles the fuselage of an aircraft, while the canopy-like upper part (also called the capsule) is like the “transparent bubble of a helicopter.” Then there’s the road stance, which is quite powerful thanks to the “super tall and narrow” wheels and the vehicle’s 3.1 meter (10.1 foot) wheelbase.
Now, if you feel as though the cabin appears to be floating on top of those massive wheels, well, that’s because it kind of is. The 19_19 Concept features an innovative suspension system with Progressive Hydraulic Cushions and a smart active control system, giving passengers the impression of riding on a “magic carpet.” The side of the car includes a black panel that blends in with the front door, serving as a welcome interface for motorists approaching the vehicle – it also acts as an extension of the personal assistant, recognizing the driver and welcoming them by displaying animated graphics (like illustrating the locking and unlocking of the doors).
If it’s the 30-inch wheels you can’t keep your eyes off, know that they were developed together with Goodyear and feature 255/30 R30 tires. The challenge here was to create seamless continuity between the rim and the tire, giving off the impression of a vehicle “moving forward on independent spheres,” with the rubber extending over the rims.
Other exterior features include the transparent double bonnet, new full LED light signature partition (featuring the chevrons), concave rear window, visible LiDAR system mounted on the roof and a subframe (which was designed like a skateboard) that features three colored lines forming the French flag.
Living room-like interior
Citroen designed the cabin of the 19_19 so as to feel like an extension of the passenger’s home, with each seat offering a different experience and different postural comfort according to what the occupants want.
Passengers also get exceptional access to the cabin thanks to the rear-hinged autoclave doors, while the ambiance inside is boosted by deep and warm colors, with a base of blue and red, similar to the Ami One Concept.
Moving on to the dashboard, there’s a borderless glazed area right underneath that can be transformed into a film projection screen, and a retractable steering wheel (for when the car is in autonomous mode). The steering wheel is particularly interesting because it represents a futuristic take on Citroen’s classic single-spoke steering wheel, while the screen in the middle is monostable with the chevrons remaining horizontal when the wheel turns – as a nod to the automaker’s fixed-hub steering wheels.
In order to comply with rules on driver distraction, the chevron animation stops when the 19_19 concept begins to move.
As you can probably tell by now, this concept was built with comfort in mind, and the fact that the cabin can remain stable and movement free while the car is on the move is perhaps the biggest testament to that.
Of course, comfort onboard the 19_19 goes far beyond what the suspension or the seats can do, thanks to the personal assistant system, equipped with artificial intelligence. It can propose alternative routes, detours to visit points of interest and will even shift up or down so as to clear space for the driver based on whether the car is in motion or not. In order to activate the system, all you have to do is say “Hello Citroen” and the personal assistant will come to life, showing off its colorful interface consisting of blue, rend and white colors.
Last but not least when it comes to the cabin, we have the head-up display and augmented reality tech. The 19_19 Concept will display all needed information directly in the driver’s field of vision, using the windscreen. Aside from that, you get navigation data projected directly on to the road, with arrows showing the route more clearly, whether you’re driving yourself or the car is in autonomous mode.
Speaking of which, the 19_19 is said to be perfectly capable of taking over certain driving phases such as on motorways or in traffic jams. However, the driver might be required to retake control in more complex situations, like in obstacle-packed city centers.
This is actually not a slow car
Powering the 19_19 Concept is an all-electric drive train, allowing you to accelerate from zero to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 5 seconds flat, before maxing you out at 200 km/h (124 mph). Also available are the 100 kWh batteries, 4WD system, and peak power and torque outputs of 340 kW (456 HP) and 800 Nm (590 lb-ft) respectively.
As for its previously-mentioned all-electric range of 800 km (497 miles), you can recover 600 km (372 miles) in just 20 minutes thanks to quick charging technology. The 19_19 is even equipped with an induction charging system, allowing the batteries to charge directly while on the move where the road infrastructure so permits.
Measuring 4,655 mm (183.2 inches) in length, 2,240 mm (88.1 inches) in width, 1,600 mm (62.9 inches) in height and with a wheelbase of 3,100 mm (122.0 inches), the 19_19 Concept can be described as somewhat of a crossover, especially if you factor in the driving position. Size-wise, it’s as long as a compact SUV and wider than a full-size SUV. Its wheelbase is identical in length to that of a BMW X7.