Just a few days ago, Stellantis announced that it was giving its Citroën brand a facelift as the brand moves towards electrification. With that action, Citroën has introduced a new electric pickup concept to capture the future direction of the French brand moving forward.
“We called this project ‘Oli’ (pronounced all-e) as a nod to the Ami, and because it sums up what the vehicle is all about – further proof that only Citroën can deliver no-nonsense, all-electric mobility to ALL kinds of people in unexpected, responsible and rewarding ways,” says Citroën CEO, Vincent Cobée.
Working as a ‘laboratory on wheels’ Oli was designed to push the needle for family mobility by bucking industry trends for heavier, more complex, and expensive electric cars. Citroën’s new manifesto calls for adventurous, clever, and achievable ideas focused on reducing weight and complexity to maximize efficiency, versatility, and accessibility.
Rather than being a 2,500 kg (5,510 lbs) ‘palace on wheels’ filled with screens and gadgets, Oli proves that with enough of the things customers need and want, supported by the inventive use of responsible materials and a sustainable production process, the societal need can be met for inexpensive yet desirable zero-emission mobility that enables multiple lifestyles.
Many of the Oli’s features were designed to reduce complexity, thus saving weight, all while using recycled and recyclable materials. For example, the seats have just 8 parts compared to the 37 parts used in most SUV seats (an 80% reduction). This is done using tubular frames and 3D-printed mesh backrests.
Co-created with BASF, they are made from lightweight, 100% recyclable Thermoplastic PolyUrethane (TPU), and the material has been covered with an orange coating to ensure they look and feel inviting. The mesh backrests amplify the feeling of space and light inside the vehicle – key contributors to occupant comfort and well-being.
Rear seat passengers can use the backrest’s exposed tubular frame to mount accessories – for example, a small tablet device powered via a USB socket, hooks for hanging a tote bag, a cupholder frame, a magazine net like in an airliner, or a small tray for the kids to enjoy a snack on the move.
The entire interior also carries the same theme. The Oli’s instrument panel (I/P) and center console are made up of 34 parts compared to the average of 75 parts used in other vehicles. Its lightweight door panels, which were designed to maximize storage are 7 kg (15 lbs.) lighter thanks to removing the speakers, soundproofing, and electric wiring.
Gone is the traditional sound system and in its place are removable Bluetooth speakers with a smartphone dock, again saving another 250 kg (551 lbs.). Because the speakers are removable, sounds can be enjoyed when parked anywhere and everywhere. Hanging them on hooks on the rails in the pickup bed outside the vehicle means you can show off your latest playlist with excellent sound quality while enjoying al fresco dining or partying on the beach.
Instead of hard-to-clean carpets, Oli features a single-piece, modular floor covering made in partnership with BASF from Expanded Thermoplastic PolyUrethane (E-TPU). The foam is as elastic as rubber but lighter, extremely resilient, and highly resistant to abrasion. It can be replaced altogether if an owner prefers a new color.
The floor is also covered with a highly elastic and waterproof coating and can be easily hosed clean. Recyclable TPU “drain plugs” in the floor make it stress-free to remove sand, mud, or mulch after a hot day at the beach or a wet day trekking through the forest.
Lightweighting also goes for the exterior of the vehicle, with the roof, hood, and truck bed sides being made from recycled corrugated cardboard sandwiched between fiberglass panels. The panels only weigh about 6 kg (13 lbs.) and are capable of supporting the weight of an average adult.
Central bumper sections, like those used in Ami, are identical front and rear. Below, triangular infra-red ‘handles’ are, in fact, strong hooks that would help drivers tow another vehicle out of the mud, or pull a large stone out of the way.
Even Oli’s tough white BASF R-M Agilis® waterborne paint is eco-effective with the lowest level of volatile organic compounds (below 250g/l).
Citroën Oli is designed to be an easy-to-use lifestyle enabler. So whether visiting a furniture store to bring home flat-packed furniture, or loading paddleboards and pop-up roof tent for a weekend at the coast, all can be accommodated in its pickup bed and front trunk.
Versatility abounds and loading is easy. The tailgate folds down and with the load bed panel removed, there is up to 582 mm (23 inches) of height between the vehicle floor and the rear glass. With the panel in place, 330 mm (13 inches) of height is useful and secure, with trunk space available under the floor of the bed (similar to that of a Honda Ridgeline pickup). The removable bed panel is light and flat and made from the same recycled cardboard structure as the hood and roof panels.
Thoughtful rails on each side of the bed allow users to attach hooks or accessories, and additional storage boxes are located on the sidewalls to provide secure undercover stowage.
The cleanly designed tailgate is made in two sections – a lower steel panel that contains a central license plate recess, topped by a mesh section in black which cleverly carries the brand’s new slogan visible to anyone following behind, as well as to the driver in the rear-view mirror: “Nothing Moves Us Like Citroën”.
With a target weight of 1,000 kg (2,204 lbs.), the lightweight Oil has an estimated range of 400 kilometers (249 miles) thanks to a 40 kWh battery pack. According to Citroën, the battery can charge from 20% to 80% in 23 minutes and can support vehicle-to-grid and vehicle-to-load capabilities. To help get that range, Citroën also limits the performance of the Oli with a top speed of 110 km/h (68 mph). So it’s best to say, the Oli isn’t designed for America’s busy highways.
You might be thinking what makes this vehicle relevant on a Mopar-based website? But it goes to show us the ideas within the company to maximize efficiency with these heavy electric vehicles. For example, the new GMC Hummer EV Pickup weighs a hefty 4,103 kg (9,046 lbs.), which takes away a lot of the potential of achieving great range with current battery output.
So what do you think of Citroën’s new Oli Concept Pickup? Let us know in the comments below or in the MoparInsiders.com forums.