Why is Citroën developing a cardboard car body?


In form, the Oli is a small electric SUV cut out for the city thanks to a surprisingly compact format. But beyond that, what shines through in this concept is a series of innovations that could be available in future vehicles from the manufacturer – and from the competition.

The energy transition will boost the automotive sector in the coming years, and as the climate emergency becomes more and more a reality, the whole question is how to reduce the impact of this production in terms of emissions carbonated.

Citroën shows a very interesting way to reduce the weight of cars

Ciroën Oli does this in several ways. First, the manufacturer lightens the weight of the vehicle as much as possible. The Citroën Oli thus weighs only 1000 kg, battery included. This makes it de facto possible to adapt the motorization, the battery requirements, and the consumption of the vehicle – which are major sources of emissions.

But what is interesting is also how Citroën has achieved this weight of only 1000 kg while limiting the impact of manufacturing. First, the manufacturer has taken care to choose only materials that are already recycled and fully recyclable, to limit the impact of the model as much as possible when it has reached the end of its life cycle.

Polypropylene bumpers can be completely recycled without too many operations, for example. Elsewhere, Citroën is making some interesting choices. For example, there is no dashboard in the cabin, since it is your smartphone that plays this role. And the audio speakers are…removable.

A “cardboard” body means that a large part can come from recycling

Many elements such as the doors are exactly the same shape and are therefore interchangeable if necessary (we note that this follows the example of the Citroën AMI). The rims have been designed in an aluminum and steel alloy that is 15% lighter than conventional rims.

But the most astonishing innovation is to be found in the bodywork. Citroën has indeed developed with BASF an original design based on recycled corrugated cardboard. This is formed in honeycomb panels that serve as a structure between layers of fiberglass reinforcement.

The assembly is “stronger than steel” according to Citroën, while being half the weight of a conventional body of equal surface area. All this for interesting characteristics for urban environments since the autonomy promises to be around 400 km for a top speed of 110 km/h.

Of course for the time being the Oli remains only a concept. But everything from its features to its eco-responsible design already make it an eerily familiar urban vehicle.

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