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Renault Shows Off Dual-Functioned, Electric Frendzy Concept

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On: Fri, Jul 15, 2011 at 4:34PM | By: Chris Weiss

Renault Shows Off Dual-Functioned, Electric Frendzy Concept

The hot, long, quiet days of summer are upon us. Being that it's an odd year, means that it's the perfect time to start showing and discussing Frankfurt Motor Show debuts. Renault took just that liberty last week, unveiling a concept that it calls "Frendzy."

Looking a little like a curvier, more streamlined version of the Cube from parent company Nissan, the Frendzy is a dual-personalitied car-van that provides a combination of weekend utility and everyday commuting practicality. The passenger side is all-business, with a minivan combination of front passenger door and sliding rear entry. The rear door is where things get interesting as it features a 37-inch LCD screen—not in the cabin, but on the door window itself. That screen is designed to transform the vehicle into an effective company advertising vehicle.

Inside, the Frendzy has just a driver seat and ample space for hauling gear and goods. Materials and equipment stowed in the 2,250-liter rear area can be fastened with help from magnetic fasteners on the floor. The pliable fabric roof accommodates large, awkwardly shaped loads. The driver can stay connected to his work life via the integrated Blackberry PlayBook tablet that fits into the center console and controls the external LCD screen. A series of door-sill sensors even allow for inventory of goods via radio frequency identication chips.

Like any good businessperson/spouse-parent, the Frendzy takes on a completely different role on weekends, serving as a family commuter. Front-passenger and rear-bench seating fold out to transport the family. The look and feel of the interior changes from a clinical, green, business-like atmosphere to a warmer, orange, camping-inspired motif.

I haven't seen any mention of it, but I feel like the rear-window 'billboard' should reverse and serve as an internal display for watching videos and playing games. While Renault missed that opportunity in a big way, it does provide a touch-sensitive screen for video-watching and game-playing that pulls out of the driver's seat.

The pictures and video show how the Frendzy meets the two-sided needs of its owner.


Frendzy Concept Car

After the notion of love expressed by DeZir, discovering the world with Captur and the establishment of a family with R-Space, Frendzy presents the world of work. It is the fourth step in Renault's design strategy based on the different stages of the human life cycle. Frendzy is efficient and modern as a work tool, yet sporting and warmly welcoming for the family. A multi-faceted friend!

A multi-faceted friend

Renault's latest concept car has a dual personality. These days, professional and personal lives are so intricately interwoven that drivers find themselves permanently channel-hopping between one world and the other. The role of Frendzy is to be a partner that takes the strain out of this lifestyle.

On the passenger's side, there's no glazing and no centre pillar, just one conventional door and one sliding side door which incorporates a 37-inch widescreen display. This is the world of work. The driver's side, complete with side windows, still no centre pillar, but with centre opening doors represents the world of the family. Ease of loading and ease of entry go without saying in both worlds!

On weekdays, Frendzy is a vehicle that adapts to the requirements of the business user, with a large external screen that can display useful messages or information (such as "making deliveries" or "back in five minutes", the battery-charging method or the remaining charge) or advertising messages, either whilst parked or on the move. Come the weekend, the vehicle transforms itself into a family vehicle, with a comfortable passenger seat and, in the rear, a big bench seat. Depending on their mood of the moment, children can watch a film or play games on the touch-sensitive pad which slides out from the back of the driver's seat. They can even draw on a special slate integrated into the sliding door.

The driver, likewise, can adapt the vehicle to his or her needs. In 'work' mode, the rear-view mirrors sit upright and the interior lighting is green; in 'family' mode, the mirrors swivel round to the horizontal position and the interior is bathed in a radiant orange ambience.

A futuristic yet simple interior

The driver's side cockpit is designed along the theme of a futuristic 'work bench' featuring a structure which appears to be made from molten metal. Green light emanating from the dashboard brings this smooth and organic architecture to life. These lights signify the 'work' mode and tie in with the colour displayed on the exterior of the vehicle.

In the 'family' mode, the atmosphere becomes warmer as the green lights turn orange - a subtle reference to the colour of the previous concept car, the family-oriented R-Space.

Dominant throughout is the sense that the interior forms a cosy cabin which echoes the simple yet practical world of camping, and this is further reflected by extensive use of wood. Indeed, as much a symbol of warmth as it is of strength and timelessness, wood forms a link between the two modes. The leather latticework seats and removable accessories also refer to the camping metaphor.

On a practical level, the fabric roof adapts itself to the shape of bulky objects, magnetic fixings allow the load to be secured to the floor, and modular stowage systems are a practical bonus for business users. The single-piece rear seat is integrated into the floor, while the front seat folds forward in order to free up space. Thanks to its practical, modular interior, Frendzy lends itself perfectly to the requirements of traders and tradesmen.

Sensors located on each door sill log the loading or unloading of packages equipped with RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification) chips containing key information such as destination address, weight and dimensions. This gives users a real-time inventory of the goods being carried in their vehicle.
100% electric

Frendzy's powertrain is the same as that of Kangoo Z.E., although the charging point - located under the Renault logo at the front of the vehicle - is identical to that on ZOE Preview.

The chief new feature of Frendzy as an electric vehicle is the extensive work that has gone into the sounds it produces. This work was carried out in conjunction with IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique / Musique). Electric vehicles are silent, so one of the big
challenges facing Renault is customizing the sound they produce for safety reasons, notably at slow speeds.

Frendzy will be on display on the Renault stand at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show!
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Photo Gallery (click a thumbnail to enlarge)



dwalter | 3:42PM (Fri, Jul 15, 2011)

wow that's a really cool concept


DipStick | 10:26AM (Mon, Jul 18, 2011)

I like how the combination of sliding door and conventional door open to create a massive entry on the side...just don't know how that would fair in a crash....

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