Renault’s Frankfurt motor show star is this radical Frendzy concept, the fourth of seven design concepts from the French firm, as it attempts to carve out a bold new design language for its future production cars, based around the human life cycle.
The half-car, half-van Frendzy, created under Renault design director Laurens van den Acker, represents the world of work and its asymmetrical body highlights its split roles, one for use as a business tool and the other a family car. Frendzy’s exterior designer, Deyan Denkov, said he wanted to “move away from the traditional commercial vehicle format” with the concept.
The passenger side is designed for weekday work use. It has a conventional door up front and a sliding door with an integrated 37-inch widescreen display at the rear, which is designed to display work messages or advertising.
In its work mode the Frendzy’s interior, which makes extensive use of wood, features just the driver’s seat, with the rest of the space based around a “work bench” theme. Its split tailgate reveals a vast 2250-litre load area that can hold oversize objects thanks to an adaptable fabric roof. Magnetic fixings allow loads to be secured and interior panels double as connectors for plug-in accessories.
The final element to the work side of Frendzy is based around an “office on wheels” concept. Its integrated BlackBerry PlayBook tablet computer controls the external screen and plugs into the centre console for use on the move.
The driver’s side of Frendzy is the entry point for its other role as a family car. Like the passenger side, there is no centre pillar, with a conventional front door and rear-hinged rear door opening to reveal a spacious interior.
When in family mode, a rear bench folds out of the floor to provide seating for two and a removable leather front passenger seat folds out of the floor and dashboard. The atmosphere of Frendzy also changes in family mode, from a business like ‘molten metal’ theme in work mode, to a warmer orange theme inspired by camping.
At 4091mm long, 1872mm wide and 1743mm high, the zero-emissions Frendzy sits between Renault’s current Kangoo Compact and Kangoo vans in size. It is powered by a 59bhp, 167lb ft electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack.
Renault has also undertaken work on creating distinct customised sounds for Frendzy to represent its different modes and alert other road users and pedestrians of its presence.