ONDELIOS: AN ENVIRONMENTALLY-FRIENDLY LONG-HAUL JOURNEY
The Paris Motor Show sees the wraps come off Renault’s top-of-the-range concept car Ondelios designed for lovers of long-haul travel who set store by comfort and refinement. Ondelios epitomizes Renault’s vision of the high-end crossover, combining a comfortable ride with respect for the environment. Clear illustrations of that vision are the vehicle’s ethereal design, its interior layout, and an original hybrid powertrain.
A sleek design that answers the call of the open road
The 4.8-metre-long, 1.6-metre high Ondelios has drawn inspiration from the world of aviation design to deliver high drag efficiency and a Cd of just 0.29. This long-distance voyager boasts sleek, smooth, amazingly fluid lines that make it appear as though it glides over the ground. It embodies Renault’s vision of high-end car. “Ondelios is inspired by motion rather than speed and is a whole new response to the call of the open road,” enthuses Patrick Le Quément, Renault’s Design Director.
The aluminium-finish grille is flanked by headlamp units that also suggest flowing motion, while its high-performance LED headlights are both longer lasting and more efficient. Another feature of Ondelios’ aerodynamic styling is the boomerang-shaped tail lights. They are built into the bodywork and ringed with air extractors to control the flow of air from the wheel arches. The glazed roof further emphasises the vehicle’s airy look and feel, bathing the interior in natural light. The steeply raked windscreen, which extends well down the bonnet, further accentuates this ethereal feel.
“We think of it as made from a single material, where the body and glazed areas merge into one. Ondelios is a glimpse of what the automobile might be in the medium term future,” adds Patrick Le Quément. The butterfly-type side doors, which also feature an extensive glazed area, add a further touch of elegance to the car’s overall styling. They swing out and upwards as the sills slide down to facilitate ingress.
The dark blue anthracite of the bodywork blends perfectly with the tinted glazed area, making the car look as if it were all of a piece and a single colour. The tailgate’s upper section rounds off the sleek, aerodynamic lines with a profiled glareshield that slides inwards to air and cool the cabin.
Ondelios sits on seven-spoke, 23-inch aluminium alloy wheels which contribute to its profiled styling. The propeller-like hubs draw airflow from the sides of the car to prevent turbulence. They operate in conjunction with the rim-side brake discs to ensure they suck in air effectively.
The sleek sidewalls of the large diameter 255/40 Michelin Pilot Sport tyres deliver outstanding drag performance. Their tread pattern is designed to minimise deformation of the contact patch while on the move to help curb rolling resistance. The tread has efficient, active flow channels which, together with the wide circumferential
groove that helps clear water, strengthen the image of a high-end, high-tech tyre.
Business-class comfort for a long-haul journey
The elegance of the Ondelios interior is in harmony with the call of the open road suggested by its exterior. To begin with, its layout is designed to profit from all the available space. There are three rows of seats that offer individual seating for six. With their cantilever mounts they give the impression of floating, while their kinematics are redolent of airplane seats. The electrically adjustable backs fold into comfortable, business-class positions, while occupants can deploy and retract their footrests at will. Although their slim lines speak of lightness, they are
designed, like giant leaves, to hug their occupants who can curl up in them to enjoy the comfort and support they afford. The height of the seats is carefully designed to ensure occupants are perfectly at ease when they talk to each other.
Unlike conventional door opening systems, the doors are hinged to the roof, which makes getting into the car extremely easy. The second row of seats slide forward and folds down to facilitate access to the third row.
In addition to seating comfort, the cabin exudes a highly refined ambience. The materials used are drawn from contemporary interior design and give the impression of sitting in a lounge on wheels. They blend soft, supple textures like light grey leather and fabric, as seen on the dashboard, seats and door panels. The colour of the seatbacks blends gradually from ochre to purple, further enhancing the sense of security and comfort.
Interior features and fittings are both modern and intuitive. The ergonomically designed controls, in keeping with Renault’s touch design approach, afford users efficient, comfortable ease of use.
The ample, flowing yet sober design of the broad dashboard echoes the car’s aerodynamic exterior. It is further highlighted by a roomy, suspended stowage compartment which is protected by a lit shell, while all the dashboard’s functional components are particularly user-friendly:
- active display skins show driver aid and ride information;
- a monitor at the base of the windscreen displays the different menus and pictures from the
door mirror cameras;
- three large strip displays provide driving-related information, revs and how the hybridized
drivetrain is operating;
- a digital speedometer.
The technologies with which Ondelios is equipped enhance the collective and individual well-being of all occupants. All the passengers, including those in the back row, have their own Samsung interactive portable multimedia devices which they can use for sharing data or multiplayer gaming. Speakers are also incorporated into the headrests and a multizone HVAC system enables each passenger to set the temperature to his or her own liking.
The smart technologies that have gone into designing Ondelios help drivers to settle in at the wheel, include a Samsung cell phone which also acts as a hands-free door lock recognizes the driver and loads all his or her personal settings, e.g. seat-adjustment settings and favourite music. The vehicle adds a final, friendly touch in the form of the back-lit logo which lights up to show that it has recognized the driver.
An environmentally friendly voyager
To complement the extensive work that has gone into Ondelios’s aerodynamics, some of the car’s structural parts are made from natural flax fibre for greater recyclability. In keeping with the commitment to make the car as light as possible, its body is made from carbon and the glazed areas from polycarbonate.
Ondelios is powered by a hybrid powerplant which combines a more powerful 205hp (150kW) version of the 2.0 dCi engine, with two 20kW electric motors at the front and rear. They operate in mild hybrid mode, giving the engine extra boost as required. They use a brake and boost system, recovering energy during braking then delivering it to the engine to boost acceleration. The front motor also uses fuel-saving stop-start technology.The electric motor mounted on the rear axle drives the rear wheels when the ESP sensors detect a loss of traction, thus giving Ondelios the capability of a 4WD vehicle. The car is equipped with a lithium-ion battery that can deliver power of up to 4kW/h. With torque of 450Nm between 1,700 and 3800rpm, the diesel engine provides comfort and flexibility at all engine speeds for long-distance driving pleasure. The 2.0 dCi unit takes Ondelios from a standing start to 100kph in just 7.8 seconds. Driving through a seven-speed, double-clutch gearbox, it affords outstanding driving pleasure, while keeping fuel consumption at a frugal 4.5 litres/100km and CO2 emissions at a lowly 120g/km – very impressive for a top-of-the-range vehicle. Similarly, the body, chassis design and hybrid powertrain contribute decisively to protecting the environment.