When you read about what the 2020 Renault Morphoz concept car does you might have to read it again. The Morphoz concept can lengthen or shrink based on the driver’s needs. If it needs to transport one or two people to a destination, it will stay in its economy length. But, if it needs to accommodate six or seven people it expands at the cowl and rear quarters to accept more people. In other words, it lengthens. Then when there is no longer a need to take on more people it can be shrunk back into a smaller configuration. Get it?
The Morphoz stretches or shrinks depending on what it needs to do
So, the Morphoz can either stretch or shrink depending on how many passengers it needs to take on. There are two modes; City and Travel. If you choose City then the Morphoz wheelbase shortens. That’s the physical transformation. Internally, the car switches to EV mode and is propelled electronically.
In Travel mode, the wheelbase stretches with the hood moving ahead while the rear extends. This is to accommodate more people and luggage. During this trip, Renault forecasts the Morphoz will pick up range from a charger embedded into the highway. Traveling over it seamlessly charges the car. Renault expects that in this mode the range will be 435 miles. That’s 50 miles more than the range you would need to get from Los Angeles to San Francisco.
The Morphoz gets a constant charge from electricity embedded into its path
Let’s be clear that this is some pie in the sky projections. But embedding a roadway with the ability to charge what travels above it is not science fiction. Streetcars have bee doing it for 100 years. It’s just that they get their juice from the electricity line above the vehicle rather than below them. The difference in technology is minuscule. In fact, suspending the lines above the street is a more complex solution than burying them.
Renault says that this is not an autonomous car. It travels at level 3 autonomy. That means the driver will have to take over under certain conditions. So, the Morphoz can handle some traveling but is not completely autonomous.
The Morphoz rides on the CMF-EV platform Renault and Nissan developed
The Morphoz is underpinned by the CMF-EV platform that is a collaboration of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. It will be the platform that both Renault and Nissan utilize for future EV products.
How probable is all of this? It’s hard to say. The mechanism for expanding or shrinking the Morphoz is lugged around regardless of if one or nine passengers are aboard. And that’s the thing. So it carries extra weight when it is conveying one or two people. It only evens out when more people are loaded into the Morphoz. So, is that really a good solution to solving how versatile a vehicle can be?
We were attracted to the design in spite of how it functions
What attracted us to the Morphoz was its design. The fascia breakup and proportions pull the viewer in. It’s a combo of flat, tight angles and fluid organic shapes. The chopped DLO and big wheels pilled out to the corners doesn’t hurt, either. All of those elements are a positive sign.
Even when the understructure is exposed after the Morphoz is lengthened looks good. It becomes graphic breaks that don’t chop the design up too much, which can be the problem with exercises like this. So follow along with the video to let Renault explain it better than us and see if this might be a revolution or too narrow of an advantage to really move the auto industry.