Paper Tiger: Citroën OLI Concept EV
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Paper Tiger: Citroën OLI Concept EV

If you believe cars should be lighter, less complicated, and more affordable, Citroën has a concept for you — made of paper!

“It’s a vicious circle,” explains Laurence Hansen, head of Citroën Product Development. “Delivering more electric driving range requires a bigger battery. Adding more technology requires more power, which also means a bigger battery. All of this adds weight, complexity and cost, and the more a vehicle weighs, the less efficient it becomes … Oli shows what can happen when we take a completely different approach.” 

Made up of recycled and recyclable materials (including cardboard), the Citroën Oli concept is a cute, boxy thing that puts the focus on simplicity and sustainability. Its mesh seats are made from recycled materials that can also be reused and recycled again, and this motif is apparent throughout the whole car. The floor is a sheet of polyurethane that can be reused or recycled, too.

As for being lightweight, the Oli incorporates funky choices like using removable Bluetooth speakers for the stereo instead of a whole-car sound system. By also doing away with superfluous gadgets and using lightweight materials, the target weight for the Oli is 1,000 kg (about 2,200 lbs).

As for actually getting around in this thing, Citroën says that even with the 40 kWh battery capacity, you can still get up to 400 km (248 miles) with a 68 mph maximum speed. The carmaker is also saying they want to target a battery charging time of 23 minutes to take the battery from 20% to 80%. 

The Oli also uses Vehicle to Grid, or V2G, technology. Sure, there’s Vehicle to Load, or V2L, where you can plug appliances into the car’s charging port and run them from the stored charge in the battery. But with V2G, you could conceivably power your whole house. Apparently, you could run a 3,000 W appliance for about 12 hours on a full charge, which could definitely help out during a storm or other outage to your home. It would also mean that this could be a nice little light-camping vehicle to hook up an electric grill or a campsite to.

As others have said, the Citroën Oli concept looks a lot like a car-sized (And super-fun! —Ed.) Ami buggy. The carmaker is aware that it has an “unconventional silhouette,” but the company asserts in its press release that the Oli has “honest aesthetics driven by functionality, efficiency and durability.”

Other concept-car bits on the Oli still seem quite practical, in keeping with the theme of functionality, rather than just being wild concept quirks for the sake of simply having them. These touches include the trunk that can fold out and expand into a “pickup bed” and the load-bearing roof that is covered with tough, grippy plastic to act as another usable surface.

All in all, we think it’s actually a pretty neat concept. So neat, in fact, that we can easily imagine something very similar (at least, in terms of material use) going into production rather sooner than later — and Hansesn seems to agree. “Oli is a working platform to explore ingenious ideas that are realistic for future production,” he says. “They won’t all come together, nor in the physical shape you see here, but the high level of innovation being showcased is inspiring future Citroën (models).”

You can check out the concept Oli photo gallery, below, then let us know what you think of this recycled French pocket rocket in the comments section at the bottom of the page.


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