This foretaste of what would later become the Renault Modus, is one of the rare prototypes of the early 2000s to play in harmony with its environment. It is a real “bubble of optimism” that was already ahead of its time. This 2002 concept car was designed by David Durand, now Dacia’s design director.
After concept cars that were rather generous in size – VelSatis, Avantime, Koleos, Talisman – Renault returned to its first love. “We’re in an extremely legitimate business for the brand: small cars” confirms Patrick le Quément. “This is an area in which Renault has always excelled. With Ellypse, the notion of miniaturisation serves as a common thread. It has been an obsession for me since my Ford years* when I wrote a speech on this theme during a conference with Daniel Goeudevert – director of Ford Germany – in which I advocated lightness, the most advanced miniaturisation while maximising the space on board for the same size.
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Eternal progress may lead one to believe in this utopia… What is obviously striking about this concept car is its seating and the modularity on board in a cabin space free of heavy furniture. “The interior is designed by Nicki Kwee, who has taken up the recent theme of touch design. He is assisted by Sidonie Camplan on colours and materials,” continues Le Quément.
“With its acidic colours – Almond Blue and Ultra Bright Blue – the Ellypse is a great little car, I love it, and we have succeeded in making a real challenge with the undulation of the floor in symbiosis with the modularity of the seats, and the total disappearance of the latter once they are housed in the floor. When we present the project to the managers, they are pleasantly surprised!”
“On the outside, it is an extremely pure, very simple design by David Durand, who also designed the Koleos concept car. On the passenger side, the rear door can be opened from right to left or left to right, an original feature that allows easy access, also facilitated by the absence of a B pilar.”
Ellypse was born three years before the arrival of the Clio III in 2005. Is it possible that it influenced the production saloon? “Honestly? No. There are cars like the Ellypse that are ahead of their time, and above all, ahead of our development time for the various projects. The concept is too out of step with the Clio III programme.
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Back to the article on the Renault Ellypse :
And the period does not lend itself to it according to Le Quément: “there are also tensions that have developed with a design that is perhaps less listened to. It was a period during which certain departments thought: let the designers do their thing, we’ll do something serious! The Ellypse is certainly ahead of its time, particularly in terms of a certain approach to “sustainability”: as early as 2002, Renault began to consider the recyclable aspect of certain modules and materials.
The number of pieces is deliberately limited. The materials are recyclable, some of them made of vegetable fibres. The floor covering is partly made of recycled leather scraps. And looking at it twenty years later, we can already imagine it with a 100% electric drive train perfectly in tune with its architecture. In 2002, however, the little troublemaker in the Renault concept car series was powered by a 1.2 litre turbo-diesel engine assisted by a starter-alternator, while the electric architecture broke new ground with its 42-volt voltage. The Ellypse saloon is credited with only 85g of CO2 per kilometre driven.