LIGNES/auto tells you about a time that people under 20 will experience : the time of the limousine of the future. If this future is willing of her. It seems that this is the case since the major manufacturers are looking at its future! Mercedes has just unveiled its vision, with its EQS Vision, a kind of electric S-Class from the 2030s. Renault did it a year ago with its EZ-Ultimo concept car, a kind of…. The ultimate talisman of the future, 100% electric too.
The two protagonists aim to offer visitors (and customers) of tomorrow their vision on a more or less identical horizon: the years 2030-2035.
Nevertheless, the two concepts are very different in their approach : the Renault clearly makes a clean slate of today’s automotive fundamentals while Mercedes remains anchored in the automotive world : its car looks like a contemporary limousine and, even if it is electric, it highlights stereotypes, with in particular electric blue (everywhere, everywhere) !
In the Mercedes, you can drive. This means that the Vision EQS concept is not only driven by level 5 of the autonomous car regulations where the car takes control. Renault has made the opposite choice, and is switching to this world where driving (or even simple driving) is not the main occupation of passengers. A choice that will make the purists scream, as they screamed at the end of the V12s, the V8s and even, in another era, the carburettors. “You have to live with the times, folks.“
The most objective of these purists will point out that the Renault has no ambition to go into production, while the Mercedes should sooner or later give birth to the 100% electric limousine that will top the new EQ range in a few years… A range synthesized below, from the compact sedan to the large limousine.
However, the German automaker officially announces “that this large sedan is designed to meet Mercedes-Benz’s ambitions to create a CO2-neutral fleet of new cars within 20 years.” In 2040, then. Imagining that the EQS would arrive well before (2025 ?), it would not be far from the period for which the Renault EZ-Ultimo was also designed…
We are not going to get into a battle of numbers. But we are opening the debate on what is meant by the “future”. It is obviously not the same for everyone. Some manufacturers, such as Mercedes, remain deeply rooted in the fundamentals of automobiles, as we know them today : a hood, seats facing the road, classic doors, etc. and design a car of the future that looks like a… car. And this, in order to meet the customer of tomorrow who is not yet ready to switch to the world of an EZ-Ultimo. He wants electric, provided that the “conditioning” – his bodywork – is identical to his current car. Step by step…
Renault does not hesitate to make a clean slate of the present and imagines that level 5 of the autonomous car (you let go of the handlebars!) will be present in 2035. The seats are then arranged as in your living room and the car no longer has the configuration of the one we know today :
- Why windows everywhere if you watch movies on board ?
- Why a hood when the electric motor is compact and installed on the running gear ?
- Why doors, when you can access through a single gigantic lateral opening ?
- Why have you even kept headlights since the autonomous car of tomorrow will have its radars, sensors, infrared vision, etc. ?
Even if the design of the Mercedes Vision EQS is rather new for the manufacturer – we are talking here about the monovolume theme “One Flow” praised by the manufacturer -, it remains in the 2020 automotive codes. And 2020 is not 2040, it’s tomorrow. Manufacturers keep informing us about the accelerating pace of automotive change, and now the EQS Vision, very fluid and perfectly balanced, remains desperately a sedan of today.
The Mercedes EQS presentation video
The presentation video of the Renault EZ-Ultimo
It is of course on board that the difference between the two vehicles is obvious. While the Renault EZ-ULTIMO looks to a future that is hard to touch, the Mercedes is comforting with its seats, centre console and even dashboard. But this cabin borrows codes that are too current. On board the Renault, you are simply no longer in a car. And this is the future, the dream. Like it or not. EZ-Ultimo has been thought around a reflection on a future – certainly destabilizing – but ultimately more credible, where barriers have fallen and where designers are refining our environment for tomorrow’s mobility.
When the great designers of this world, in the 1960s and 1970s, gave birth to the “dream cars” that made us dream, they did the same thing. We entered through the windshield into Gandini’s Stratos Zero, tipped over to the controls of a flying saucer in Paolo Martin’s Modulo… The only enormous difference is the need to accelerate architectural and technological research in order to give birth today to a sustainable mobility in line with the times. The Gandinis and other Giugiaro or Martin didn’t have that kind of concern….