Not for a million dollars. That is the price estimated by Renault for the DeZir and that is the figure that was willing to pay a Russian millionaire for him. It happened during his presentation at the Paris Salon and, of course, the French refused. To the satisfaction, above all, of Laurens van de Acker, the creature’s father. He is the new design guru at Renault, in charge of shaping the range of the next decade. Is there a better host to try DeZir? Of course not. So, before going up to the prototype, he tells me the new design philosophy and asks me to imagine a six-petalled flower. So graphics are the designers. Each sheet represents a stage of adult life and each one will come out a prototype to define the cars of the gala brand series. For example,
It is undeniable, it causes outside impression. No wonder that the Russian was infatuated with him. Perhaps the charm would have remitted when accessing the interior, because I must perform an exercise of contortionism. Do not forget that it is a concept and the first thing about the practicality. Of course, once inside there is plenty of room for the legs and the posture is very short and sporty. They surprise the two cameras that make of mirrors and, mainly, the tablet type iPad that replaces to the traditional console. So will the future … simple and tactile. Because the continuous drive change is moved by slight impulses and, for example, to turn on the lights I just have to run my finger over a sensor.
I start slowly, very slowly.
The slowness in starting the march does not respond to the laziness of the car, but to my respect. It is a prototype, it is unique and you have to treat it with care. I enter the Mortefontaine test track and accelerate on the first straight. The 226 Nm of torque and the 150 horsepower are suddenly routed to the rear wheels without loss of traction. Something meritorious, because the ground is full of leaves.
A chassis inherited from the Mégane Trophy and the ultra-direct steering (although with a high turning radius) allow me to draw the corners with great confidence. In addition, the capacity for recovery surprises me pleasantly. As much as the sensations: it is the first electric that I drive that soon makes me forget that I carry an electric. The feeling is normal car … until I look at the futuristic console or the ceiling screens.
I leave the reverie when the engineer who accompanies me asks me to think about stopping. It is necessary to recharge, because the maximum autonomy is of 160 kilometers if you deal with the accelerator with smoothness. I stop the 4.2 meters measuring the DeZir next to a three-phase 400 V power outlet. So I can recharge 80 percent in just 20 minutes. In contrast, the home network takes eight hours. And there is another option of recharging, in which Renault has been working for some time. It is called Quick Drop and consists of replacing the exhausted battery with a new one at each recharge.
Practical details aside, stick with several aesthetic notes of this prototype, like the front grille. When you see the next Renault, it sure reminds you of DeZir. I will remember him for his breakthrough aesthetic and because he changed my way of thinking about these electric models.
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This DeZir has surprised me because it offers the feel more like a ‘normal’ car of all the electric that I have driven. It is clear that this technology is advancing, although there are still areas where progress is enough. For example, autonomy or forms of recharge. In any case, we will see its influence on the new Clio and … maybe in the future Alpine?