Comfort-focused autonomous EV celebrates 100 years of the French brand

Citroen has marked its 100th anniversary with the 19_19 concept, a vision for the future of intercity travel with a focus on extreme comfort.

Named to mark a century since the company was founded, the high-riding EV was designed as a long-range companion to the previously-revealed Ami:One city car and will be capable of fully autonomous driving.

Head of product Xavier Peugeot said the 19_19 was “projecting into the future two of Citroen’s key genes: bold design and 21st century comfort.”

A fully-glazed suspended cabin sits on a new, modified version of Citroen’s Progressive Hydraulic Cushion suspension, seen in current form in the C5 Aircross SUV, with travel lines on the car’s body indicating exactly how much the suspension moves while the car is in motion.

The teardrop-shaped concept was inspired by the aviation world, with an exposed powertrain and roof-mounted LIDAR sensors meant to evoke an aircraft’s horizontal stabilisers. Front and rear LED light bars incorporate Citroen’s dual chevron logo, extending outwards to act as wing mirrors using built-in digital cameras, while the rear-hinged doors contain LCD screens.

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The concept rides rides on massive 30in wheels with equally conceptual rubber designed in partnership with Goodyear. Each tyre uses embedded sensors can communicate road conditions to the car when driving in autonomous mode, and is made with a bespoke compound inspired by natural sponge designed to improve traction in adverse weather conditions and reduce road noise inside the cabin.

“This project cannot be presented without thinking of AMI:One,” Head of Exterior Design Frédéric Duvernier explained. “They are very complimentary. On the one hand, you have a small economy car; on the other hand, comfort.”

“I like to think about an egg, because there’s nothing so simple. We tell our designers not to overcomplicate that car - it’s easier to make a newer design by adding lines, but keeping it very simple and working with surfaces is what we really want.”

Citroen calls the 19_19, which will receive its public debut at the Vivatech technology show in Paris later this week, a “true living room on wheels”, with an interior meant to feel like an extension of the passenger’s home.

Driver, front and rear passengers each have drastically different seating positions for maximum comfort. The thickly cushioned driver’s seat is sculpted and partly displays its underlying frame for a sportier feel, while the front passenger gets a reclining chaise longue meant to mimic a business class airline. The two are separated by a marble-styled centre console made from lightweight composite. Rear passengers get a sofa-like bench with a bungee-like fabric mesh acting as both headrest and access to rear storage.

“It’s been a trend I think, the last couple of years, to take a lot of influence from house furniture,” Duvernier explained. “Here the team has pushed it as far as they could.”

The minimal floating dashboard is separated into two layers, with driving elements shown on a heads-up display above the beltline and a cylindrical “fifth passenger” AI assistant that raises through it when entering autonomous mode. Infotainment can then be projected onto the window beneath the dash, which also gives passengers a view of the road in front. A further digital display is built into the single-spoke steering wheel, which can be retracted into the dashboard when the car enters autonomous mode.

The all-wheel drive concept, which is not expected to enter production, uses twin motors that produce a combined 456bhp and 590lb ft of torque. Citroen says the 19_19 will achieve 0-62mph in five seconds and a top speed of 124mph, while a 100kWh battery provides up to 500 miles of range on the WLTP test procedure. Rapid charging should return as much as 380 miles of range in 20 minutes, and inductive technology could allow for cable-free charging.

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Comments
8

13 May 2019

 That’s what it reminds me of, so, when cars are fully autonomous, this isn’t so bad.......

Peter Cavellini.

13 May 2019

That is the coolest car - no, the coolest thing - I can recall seeing in maybe the last five years.

Build it.  Exactly as is.  Even if it is millions of dollars, a few people will buy them.  

Excuse me while I pick my jaw up off the ground...

13 May 2019

A breath of fresh air that is so much more interesting than the crop of recent cautious concept cars from Audi, Mercedes etc.

Hope this revives the trend of lower non-SUVs

13 May 2019

Cool, some nice touches, I wonder if this is a sign of a return to greatness for Citroen which has mostly been shite for the last 30 years, sadly.

XXXX just went POP.

13 May 2019

There are some nice ideas in this car, particularly about how it is designed to work alongside the Ami-One. In a world of autonomous driving and vehicle sharing, You will be able to call the vehicle you need for that particular journey. Something small and simple for the commute (although I think far fewer will be commuting in a connected world, and many of them already could be working remotely), and something bigger and comfortable for the longer distance trips. Right-sizing for the journey will be a big energy and cost saver.

13 May 2019

Very similar in concept to the Volvo 360C. Never in my wildest dreams would I put those two brands on the same wavelength. Of course Citroen has more avant garde flair but they are awfully similar.

Mesumguy

13 May 2019

Build it, and I'll buy my first ever French car in 42 years of buying cars.  It looks a cracker, but a concept it will stay!

13 May 2019

i'm totally in favour of progress and things moving on, but the steering wheel's upside down

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