It has been predicted that more than 70 percent of the worldwide population will live in cities by 2030, and the automobile is expected to play a critical role in the “smart city” of the future.
As mobility continues to evolve with connected and autonomous vehicles, according to French automaker Renault, customers will expect unique and exclusive onboard experiences, such as the company’s newly-released EZ-ULTIMO concept car.
Recently unveiled at the Paris Auto Show, the EZ-ULTIMO is a stylish electric, autonomous vehicle designed for premium travel, and it’s unlike any other concept car introduced previously. This first-class robo-vehicle was designed by Renault, one of Groupe Renault’s five brands. The company began manufacturing cars in 1898, and now envisions a future that consists of electric, connected, autonomous, and shared mobility.
A land yacht, an upscale “robo-vehicle”, and a five-star hotel on wheels, these are all words that have been used to describe the EZ-ULTIMO. Whether passengers are traveling to a Michelin star restaurant, their private jet, or wish to go on an exclusive tour, Renault’s newest concept car is a luxurious on-demand ride-hailing experience for those who desire a premium mobility service.
Over the past year, Renault has introduced a trilogy of electric, autonomous concept cars that illustrate the company’s vision of a shared urban and mobile world. They are known as the EZ-GO, EZ-PRO and EZ-ULTIMO.
Renault first announced the EZ-GO concept car earlier this year, an autonomous, connected and shared taxi with an electric engine. A few months later, the automaker showcased the EZ-PRO at the Hannover commercial vehicle exhibition. The autonomous, connected vehicle utilizes a shared robo-pod concept for special deliveries and fleet management. Rather than a single vehicle, EZ-PRO is a platform consisting of several autonomous modules. They travel together and have the capability to separate and make individual deliveries.
Where EZ-GO might drive your children to school, the EZ-PRO vehicle would be utilized primarily to move goods in a timely manner, especially as E-Commerce continues to expand and consumers demand the immediate arrival of their purchases.
Now, the third concept car to be introduced by Renault in 2018 by Thierry Bollore, COO, and Laurens van den Acker, Groupe Renault’s senior vice-president of corporate design, is the EZ-ULTIMO.
“As consumer trends change and people are enjoying ride-hailing services more and more, a new paradigm for mobility will emerge,” said van den Acker, senior vice president of corporate design. “Inspired by contemporary architecture, and completely integrated in future smart cities, EZ-ULTIMO will provide an exclusive experience for all. With autonomous, electric, and connected cars, we are entering a new exciting era in automotive design.”
Riding in the EZ-ULTIMO is meant to be an experience to remember. Step inside this unique vehicle and you’ll find a luxurious interior consisting of marble, velvet, leather, and wood. Inspired by a French style, the mobile lounge is designed for the utmost comfort and incorporates technological advances for passengers to work or relax.
With seating for three, the EZ-ULTIMO is similar to a first-class lounge, with an emerald-green velvet chair for one passenger and a bench seat for two additional ones. This configuration allows those inside to talk face-to-face.
When the side doors open, the upper glass sections move automatically, and the seats rotate to allow passengers to sit down easily.
The furniture was designed in a neo-retro style reminiscent of the company’s 120-year history and pre-war vehicle models. Overhead, passengers can view the sky through a panoramic glass roof.
Nearly six meters long (about 19 feet), the front-wheel-drive vehicle has a 310-mile battery that is stored underneath the floor. The EZ-ULTIMO uses a specialized electric drive platform as well as a wireless recharging system.
With level 4 autonomous driving capability, the EZ-ULTIMO can be taken on highways as well as city roads. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) defines five levels of autonomous vehicles from level zero with no autonomy to level five that is full autonomous. Level 4 autonomous driving is considered high automation. “The vehicle is capable of performing all driving functions under certain conditions. The driver may have the option to control the vehicle,” according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
In addition to having Wi-Fi, EZ-ULTIMO passengers can charge their smartphones with wireless charging pads, and an iPad-style tablet allows riders to access the onboard services available.
These include tailored content as well as a concierge service to book restaurant reservations, hotel rooms, or arrange other plans.
“We are on the brink of a new world in which shared mobility services will become increasingly prevalent,” according to Renault. “As cities become more congested and urban trends make it easier for people to travel short distances using shared services, the reality of what’s possible during travel time is completely redefinable.”
Renault uses Dassault Systèmes software for their production and concept cars during the design process. The company said they depend on the well-known Dassault Systèmes solutions because it is considered one of the leaders in France. Not only have they found that it is reliable and efficient, but Renault also said they are confident that the software is easy to use to with suppliers.