Citroën invents the cardboard car for a world without resources

Citroën invents the cardboard car for a world without resources

by Gilles Guillaume

PARIS (Reuters) – Cultivating its image as a discoverer of future trends, Citroën has unveiled a daring concept car that prepares the car of tomorrow for a world with fewer resources and does not hesitate to swap the steel of the bonnet and roof for cardboard.

A honeycomb box reinforced with two plastic surfaces, strong enough to stand on without deforming.

This innovation, born of a partnership with German chemist BASF, along with the presence of a vertical windshield to reduce glass area and save weight, give the Citroën Oli electric concept car a futuristic SUV profile.

The Chevron brand and BASF have achieved what is attributed to the Trabant, the cult car of the former GDR. But contrary to legend, this one wasn’t made of cardboard but of “Duroplast”, a plastic made in part from cotton leftovers from the former Soviet Union, recycled and processed into a compact frame.

“More than a concept car as you’re used to, it’s almost an expression of new lifestyles,” Anne Laliron, director of future products at Citroën, told Reuters ahead of the vehicle’s presentation at La Caserne. Paris incubator for sustainable fashion.

Imagining an afterlife on an inevitably more fuel-efficient planet, the designers at Dacia, Renault’s historic low-cost brand, tried their hand at the exercise as well. And the fruit of their labor, the concept car “Manifesto”, presented in mid-September, also seems to have sprung from a “Mad Max” film, which was set in a post-apocalypse world where oil would be worth its weight in gold.

Dacia’s off-roader, on the other hand, features a stripped-down silhouette, even with a cork dashboard where you can pin a good old paper road map in case GPS navigation isn’t possible due to a lack of network.


For its part, to meet the climate challenge and the component shortages, Citroën Oli does not exceed a ton and 110 kilometers per hour, the electrical wiring harnesses have disappeared from the door panels – they consist of only eight parts compared to an average of 35 in cars today – the key lock is back, the dashboard uses information from the driver’s mobile phone for communication or entertainment and aluminum wheels have replaced the classic aluminum rims.

The counterpart, these are windows with a manual slit. The vertical windscreen – which also makes it possible to reduce the influence of solar radiation in the passenger compartment and therefore the use of air conditioning – means that an air vent has to be fitted on the hood, in order to quasi replicate a windscreen vehicle aerodynamics.

Oli is also said to be extremely recyclable and repairable, with the ambition to go from hand to hand for at least three generations, so half a century.

“It’s a durable object that we can repair, always with the perspective of saying we used resources to craft it. We must therefore keep it as long as possible,” continues Anne Laliron.


The concept, which dates back to 2019, has had its justification confirmed by the ensuing crises, from the COVID-19 pandemic to the war in Ukraine, which led to numerous problems in the supply of raw materials or spare parts. .

“It is clear that what we have just experienced in the last few years has further strengthened our intuition, our ambition,” added Anne Laliron.

Citroën is now one of the 14 brands of the Stellantis Group and intends to retain this innovative place within the giant that was born from the merger of PSA and FCA.

“Belonging to Stellantis gives us this freedom (…) to strengthen our ambitions and become even more innovative and even more different,” said Vincent Cobée, CEO of Citroën.

(Gilles Guillaume, with Nick Carey in London, adaptation by Kate Entringer)


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