The Citroen Oli is turning heads in the motoring industry.
Citroen says the Oli’s manifesto is ‘less is more’ with a focus on simplicity and lightness to achieve sustainability, going away from today’s norm of cars having some high-tech two-tonne gadget-fest.
The quirky French brand decided to make the car – which isn’t directly previewing a production model – out of unconventional materials. Most surprising is the use of recycled corrugated cardboard sandwiched in a honeycomb shape between fibreglass panels to keep weight down and improve efficiency while still being strong enough.
The Oli definitely has a unique look. It might not be to everyone’s taste, but the most unconventional silhouettes in the band’s history have gone on to become their most iconic. A good example of this is the Citroen 2CV DS and even the latest Ami, with both of these cars looking unlike anything else on the roads to this day, and have made their places in automotive history.
Rather than using ‘dynamic lines’ in its design, Citroen decided to go against the grain and use vertical and horizontal lines for the Oli, giving it that flat windscreen and flat ‘pick-up bed’ – the French carmaker is proud to point out it’s done something ‘other vehicle makers wouldn’t dare to do.’
Citroen claims that there’s also a practical reason for the vertical windscreen, as it uses the least amount of material possible, given that a vertical windscreen has the shortest distance from top to bottom.
Citroen has adopted other novel ways to improve the Oli’s recyclability.
The seats are made of a mesh that allows for more natural light throughout the car and are made of 80% less parts than a traditional seat.
The Oli also boasts removable Bluetooth speakers instead of a built in sound system, which has us wondering why it’s never been done before. These are a lot lighter than a built-in setup and can be taken with you when you want to listen to music outside the car.
The vehicle’s 40kWh battery is capable of an impressive-for-the-size 248 miles between charges, thanks to its lightweight setup. It’ll take around 23 minutes to charge the car from 20% to 80%. Its top speed is limited to 68mph in the name of efficiency, though, so it’s not expected to give you a thrilling drive. Although having just cardboard and fibreglass between you and the outside might raise your adrenaline…
Citroen states that the wheels are made of a blend of aluminium and steel, to keep weight down. Citroen teamed up with Goodyear to develop a sustainable tyre, which is said to be good for 50,000 miles. It’s made of rice husk, pine tree resins, sunflower oils and natural rubber to replace the synthetic petroleum-based rubber compounds used in common tyres.
The Citroen Oli is the first car to boast the company’s new logo. It’s a nod back to Citroen’s original logo from 1919, and is another way the brand is looking back to look forward.
Citroen CEO Vincent Cobee points out that cars have become much heavier and complex over the years due to safety and legal requirements, but maybe the answer is to look at simplifying cars for the future in a way that strikes a better balance between sustainability, safety and utility.