Jeremy Webb heads to Paris for the official launch party of the DS 7 Crossback and to learn more about the striking looking and innovative DS X E-Tense.
Irrespective of how large one’s workload is, some opportunities are so good, you simply have to make the time. When DS Automobiles and DS Performance invited me to drive a DS7 Crossback to France for the launch party for the car and watch a Formula E Grand Prix, it was an experience too good to miss.
With the anticipation building, I watched as the Crossback pulled up to my house. I’d be driving it to Folkestone where I’d be meeting several other journalists who were also reviewing the model. In total, four DS 7 Crossbacks boarded the Eurotunnel to France. After a relaxing and enjoyable journey, we headed off in convoy to Paris arriving in just three hours.
Our base of operations was the renowned Hotel Molitor where I had three glorious days being treated like a celebrity. The staff were fantastic, always friendly and above all helpful. Entering my room I beamed as I saw the view to the outside pool. All rooms in the hotel have a view of the famous outdoor pool, which lights up at night and changes colour. It was luxurious, with a huge bed, lovely linen and all the amenities guests require.
I took the opportunity to relax before being chauffeured to the DS world building for the launch and press conference. DS Automobiles’ CEO, Yves Bonnefont addressed the audience and announced the Concept 2035 project, the DS X E-Tense. DS Automobiles and DS Performances’ imagination of future transport. The design team was given free reign to create a car from their dreams of what they could envisage a car being like in 2035.
I interviewed Arnaud Ribault, SVP DS Automobiles and Thierry Metroz, DS SVP, DS Design who told me they took ideas from nature, museums, art and even poetry. Often sending photos to each other from art galleries or buildings they visited. They were passionate about the E-Tense and rightly so. Seeing the images of the car on a large screen, it is truly beautiful and new.
It is asymmetric, with one side being for the purist driver who wants to have control and enjoys fast, fun driving. The other side offers tranquillity, relaxation, and autonomy. You are driven by the car itself, cocooned in luxury, safety, and technology. No steering wheel, no display as we know it. Films, Television, and information will be projected on to the windscreen. Red and Blue define the choices the owner has.
Avant-Garde art in a car, which will combine skills from the fashion industry, and other artisan crafts along with cutting-edge car manufacturing technology. This will then drive forward what can be done on future DS cars before 2035.
New materials, new ways of using LED lights, new thinking. The car is beautiful and shows what can be done when people are driven by imagination and not confined by boundaries and budgets.
The car has a clear canopy and electro-chromatic glass floor providing flashes of the road. A third seat allows for two passengers in the autonomous side of the car, where they can interact with IRIS, a hologram that takes care of the functions. The pilot, as DS label them, is not enclosed, feeling the elements, speed and being at one with the car. The passengers enter via a Gull Wing door, into a sensuous capsule. As an added bonus, the seating can massage the occupants while they choose their entertainment for the journey.
The DS X E-Tense is a very light vehicle allowing great performance for passionate drivers. Each of the front wheels has an electric motor, producing in total 400kW equivalent to 540 HP for normal use. In Circuit mode 1,000kW or 1360 HP is released giving the driver great enjoyment.
High tech developed in collaboration with the DS Formula E programme means the advanced active system keeps the suspension trimmed, and traction control makes sure all power from the wheel is put on to the road.
New material allows the body to recover to its original form after an impact. There are no standard lights as we know, replaced by DS Light Veil which curtains the front and rear of the DS X E-Tense. The whole of the front illuminates white, the rear red.
The people throughout DS Automobiles share one thing, passion for automobiles and this is clearly seen in the concept 2035, DS X E-Tense. I will be looking forward to the future a lot more if cars are going to be as good as this creation.