Currently reading: Citroen concept's radical wheel design to make production
High-riding 19_19 concept is overtly futuristic, but not entirely unrealistic, according to company boss Linda Jackson
Richard Bremner Autocar
News
2 mins read
19 July 2019

The huge wheels of Citroën’s radical 19_19 concept car, built to celebrate the marque’s 100th year, are likely to appear on new models during the 2020s. 

“People are bored,’ said Citroën CEO Linda Jackson at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. “They need a new look, and with the big wheels you get a different posture. The biggest impact of electrification will be on SUVs”.

The 19_19 indicates a return to the more radical thinking that Citroën has been famous for, and while much of this car has been conceived for 2030, Jackson says “I only do concepts where I can test things.” 

Among its defining characteristics are its high-riding shape and the massive, 30in wheels that deliver this, its full electric drive, the motor and battery packaged into a skateboard structure, its full autonomy – with the option to drive – and lounge-style seating arrangements.

“The 19_19 has high seating and next-generation tyres developed with Goodyear,” says design director Pierre Leclercq. 

The freedom to repackage the car around a skateboard is allowing Citroën to experiment, the big wheels concept providing plenty of potential benefits. One is that the occupants ride higher without the need to build up the vehicle’s bodywork, while also providing plenty of ground clearance. 

Narrow wheels are more aerodynamic, the frontal area of the exposed lower portion of the tyre much smaller, while the reduced width of the contact patch is to some extent compensated for by the patch’s greater length. Large wheels also allow for the installation of in-wheel motors, besides dramatically altering the proportions and stance of the car. 

Back to top

A drawback is the potential compromise of ride comfort – a major Citroën signature – which is why Goodyear was enlisted to help with their development. “They spent a lot of money on the concept,” says Leclerq. “The next five years is not just going to be an evolution – I want it to be more than that. We’re facing the biggest change in the car industry with the changes in technology.”

Citroën product chief Xavier Peugeot says that Citroën's “next cars will challenge their class codes, as SUVs have done.” 

Peugeot adds that “it’s too early to explain the recipe,” but when asked about the benefits of using tall, narrower tyres, says “I agree. We need different silhouettes in the coming years.”

Read more

First drive: Citroen 19_19 concept review​

Linda Jackson: a day in the life of Citroen's charismatic CEO

Goodwood Festival of Speed 2019: Citroen turns 100​

Join the debate

Comments
12
Add a comment…
Hughbl 20 July 2019

Good point LP

In practical terms, what's the cost of a replacement tyre? And if you have to carry a spare - what do they weigh?

LP in Brighton 20 July 2019

Whatever happened to the idea of form following function?

it's a philosophy that brought us the original Mini, Jaguar E-type and numerous Citroens.

If "designers" are given a free reign, then we'll end up with hopelessly impractical inefficient cars that will appeal to three year olds. I'm pretty sure that 30in wheels are not the optimal size for any car and - while they may look good to some - will bring about all kinds of problems in respect of ride, handling, packaging, steering lock, fuel consumption, and cost. 

Citroen has a glorious past, but looks lost for the future. 

Will86 21 July 2019

LP in Brighton wrote:

LP in Brighton wrote:

it's a philosophy that brought us the original Mini, Jaguar E-type and numerous Citroens.

If "designers" are given a free reign, then we'll end up with hopelessly impractical inefficient cars that will appeal to three year olds. I'm pretty sure that 30in wheels are not the optimal size for any car and - while they may look good to some - will bring about all kinds of problems in respect of ride, handling, packaging, steering lock, fuel consumption, and cost. 

Citroen has a glorious past, but looks lost for the future. 

Have to agree with you. I think the problem for car manufacturers is the car has been refined so much over the years that the incremental gains that each new model brings are getting smaller. It is then getting harder to convince people to buy a new car especially when their existing car remains reliable. Some may be getting 'bored' as suggested by Citroen but many just don't see the point in upgrading because what's the point in spending thousands of pounds on something that isn't much different to what they've got at the moment. This means that car manufacturers have to work harder to make us buy new cars even if that means apparently impractical ideas like these 30 inch wheels.

Tornadorot 19 July 2019

"People are bored..."

People are bored of car stylists continually trying to re-invent the car and come up with something that looks "new" and "different", regardless of whether it's an improvement in practical terms.