Browse over 9,000 car reviews

Sorry, there are no cars that match your search

'SUV is not the answer, just what people are demanding right now': Renault

The Morphoz is just the latest in a family of EV concepts, but it's not all about designing trendy SUVs.

You may have noticed over the last few years that the grand majority of concept cars coming out of the world’s major automakers are electric SUVs, like Renault’s most recent Morphoz concept car.

Obviously, these two defining features are trends in much of the world, but as Renault designer Francois Lebione explains – there’s a lot more that concept car designers have to consider when it comes to the raw shape of a car today.

“The SUV has taken over the industry, like a virus! – Not in a bad way, but it is interesting for designers to understand what it is about this that makes people so happy. SUVs have many of the qualities that people are demanding”, he explains, “SUV is not the answer, Morphoz is not the answer […] but it is meant to introduce a new family of cars for Renault.”

But it is not just the cultural, car-selling aspect that drives designers to SUVs – the one which Mr Leboine describes as the “pragmatic” approach. The Morphoz was built around an electric platform, too. One that does not allow perhaps all the freedoms to designers that you might think it does.

Mr Lebione explains that working with an electric platform does not mean unlimited design freedom. Mr Lebione explains that working with an electric platform does not mean unlimited design freedom.

“The Morphoz was built entirely around the [Renault/Mitsubishi/Nissan] alliance CMF EV platform,” he said. “Batteries are big, heavy, they need to be at the base of the car for balance reasons, physics.

“EVs are naturally high because of this, therefore it is easy to make them the dimensions of an SUV.”

However, Mr Lebione said that doesn't limit EVs strictly to a high-riding body style.

“CMF EV is not an SUV platform,” he said. “Again, SUV is not the only answer, just what people are demanding right now.

“But, it was interesting to change the idea of the bonnet, before a big bonnet meant power, but that is not so much a modern idea. When the Morphoz is extended, that extra bonnet length now means more range, battery capacity. It was interesting to play with that idea.”

When queried by CarsGuide on whether the Morphoz was designed with only Europe in mind, Mr Lebione said: “The idea with Morphoz was to be adaptable across markets, this image could please anyone on any continent, this car can be compressed, extended. I admit, this idea of having one size-fits all is very European, however.”

The Morphoz' colourful interior is meant to be representative of juicy fruit, according to Mr Lebione. The Morphoz' colourful interior is meant to be representative of juicy fruit, according to Mr Lebione.

And production features? Mr Lebione thinks you might be surprised by how many features of the Morphoz will make it to production vehicles soon.

“Many aesthetic features will come to production cars in the near future,” he said. “I can’t share specifics, but you won’t be surprised, you’ll see some things and say, ‘that was on the Morphoz!’”

You also might be wondering how concept car designers work in the era of shared platforms. The Renault/Nissan/Mitsubishi alliance are expected to all use the new CMF EV platform in some way shape or form in the near future.

“If this is an interesting design [for Renault], it has to be interesting for the other companies, too”, Mr Lebione said. “Within the organisation, teams work on the platform at the same time as the designers, they keep an eye on each other.”

Renault’s Morphoz concept is the most recent in the French brand’s ‘Life’ family of electrified concept vehicles that dates back to the 2016 Trezor coupe concept. This line has spawned a total of seven concepts thus far, with more to come. Mr Lebione said the family of concepts is meant to cover all aspects of life that Renault as a brand is able to provide.

The Morphoz concept is an extendable electric vehicle with either 400- or 700km range depending on which mode is chosen. The Morphoz concept is an extendable electric vehicle with either 400- or 700km range depending on which mode is chosen.

The Morphoz is an SUV which can extend its bonnet to include more battery cells to increase its range. The compact ‘City Mode’ is proposed to carry 40kWh of batteries for a 400km range, while the ‘Travel Mode’ expands capacity to 90kWh for a 700km range by way of installing extra batteries while also offering more interior space.