DS X E-TENSE: OUR DREAM FOR 2035
Close your eyes and allow your imagination to envisage what the car of your dreams might look like in 2035. Use your senses to picture how new forms, new materials and new technologies might combine to produce a vehicle that will epitomise luxury on four wheels in the future. This is the stimulating assignment the men and women at DS Automobiles were given – to imagine a dream car looking forward to 2035. The fruit of their collective fantasy is DS X E-TENSE, a car of incomparable refinement.
A gauntlet thrown down to futurism
In addition to the reputation it has forged for being an automobile brand capable of turning avant-garde ideas into reality, DS Automobiles has emerged as an ambassador for French savoir-faire.
Recently, DS Automobiles, the perfect combination of refinement and technology decided to rise to a singular challenge – that of exercising its world-renowned expertise and culture to imagine an object of desire.
In today’s fast-morphing automobile industry, the men and women at DS Automobiles were tasked with bringing to life their dreams for the car of tomorrow while sharing their passion of automobile, uncurbed by predetermined constraints.
The fruit of that passionate, unfettered journey is DS X E-TENSE.
Their vision for 2035 is very different from the current, near-obsessional quest for characterless mobility. Instead, the designers at DS sought to blend the benefits of advanced technology with a large measure of poetic creativity. Their answer explores how customers who have no qualms about indulging themselves and how they might perceive the notion of a luxurious French style eighteen years hence, however diverse their needs.
The result is a breathtakingly beautiful car, but also sensuous and inspiring, in the same revolutionary mould as the original DS which caught the motoring public’s imagination off-guard eight decades upstream of 2035.
A radically different experience
The cockpit is accessed by an Elytre door that is trimmed with a carbon fibre/leather weave. Inevitably, the eyes are drawn to the pyramidal architecture of the single seat, which adapts perfectly to the driver’s build like the fitted seats seen in motor racing, while its reclined position helps to keep the car’s centre of gravity low. The steering wheel, meanwhile, in keeping with the symbol it has always represented vis-à-vis the passion for automobiles, is an enticing combination of leather, wood and metal, and incorporates capacitive senses to monitor the driver’s efforts. The two-tone Millennium Blue and Navy Blue Aniline leather is finished with DS’s trademark pearl top-stitch pattern. At least as emblematic as the steering wheel, the pedals have also been the object of the designers’ obsessive attention-to-detail. These appointments alone contribute to the promise of a unique experience once installed inside the cockpit and provide the driver with an adrenalin rush even before they pull away.
A soothing cocoon
DS X E-TENSE’s asymmetric architecture provides distinct ambiences left and right. Climb into the cocoon part of the interior via the gullwing door and the driver, alone or accompanied, becomes a passenger. This asymmetric layout frees up a different type of space underneath the clear glass canopy, with the passenger enclosed in a sensuous capsule, snug in a ventilated, massaging seat that stretches back like a deployed bird’s wing, with a feather star motif crowning the top of the back. Travelling with the autonomous mode engaged is an exceptional experience as other senses than touch come into play, including enjoyment of the hi-fidelity sound bar that forms the ‘dashboard’.
The see-through electro-chromatic glass floor provides a view of the road as it flashes beneath the car, while the cocoon’s lavish blend of leather, wood and metal draws the eye and settles the mind. The association of navy blue and rich red hues softens the light that enters the car, while the fluidity of the lines is accentuated by the absence of screens, with the role of the familiar tablet display played by the car’s glazed surfaces.
The passenger benefits from a reassuring, protective environment, including filtered, scented air that plays a part in the impression of exquisite refinement as the occupant is swept away by the driver in the cockpit, or alternatively by the car in autonomous mode. An additional seat even makes it possible to travel three-up.
In addition to being connected to the outside world, a personal assistant – IRIS, which takes the form of a hologram – tends to the vehicle’s functions.
Taking a step back from preconceived ideas has resulted in a car that is as ‘light as a feather’ and as ‘silent as a breeze’, forged by its creators’ passion, for people who are passionate about cars.
Located within the front wheels, the two motors selected as the source of the all-electric DS X E-TENSE’s power provide unrivalled response. For road use, peak power stands at 400kW (540 horsepower), a figure that rises to 1,000kW (1,360 horsepower) in ‘circuit’ mode which allows the driver to savour the exquisite performance of the suspension engineered by DS Performance, the technical team behind DS’s Formula E programme. The carbon fibre chassis sits on innovative springs and torsion bars, while traction, grip and deceleration is controlled by an advanced active system conceived to optimise performance, whatever the type of road surface.
Imagining a dream car for 2035 led DS Automobiles to create an asymmetric, three-seat concept founded on a unique association of two vehicles in one that allows owners to select the driving mode that matches their need of the moment. Due to new technology, the body is capable of recovering its original form after an impact, while the configuration of the front grille and the DS X E-TENSE’s cooling capacity adapt to the driver’s whims. Thanks to DS LIGHT VEIL light curtains, the brightness of the lights adjusts as a function of the requirements of the occupants, the car and its surroundings.
A dream for 2035
Designed to serve as a vision of what a dream car might resemble in the Year 2035, DS X E-TENSE is the star of a film that is to be given a première airing on the five continents where DS Automobiles is most active.
QUINTESSENCE – YVES BONNEFONT, DS AUTOMOBILES CEO
«As a carmaker, DS Automobiles has its roots very much in the 21st Century and we are currently embarking on a fresh chapter of our history with the launch of second-generation of all-new models. The DS brand’s youthful vitality is clearly an asset and with DS 7 CROSSBACK we will continue to show this as the wraps come off a comprehensive range of vehicles that are ahead of their time. It is no secret that we are already thinking in terms of our next generation cars and given the revolution that has started to rock our industry, our development work is focused primarily on energy efficiency – whatever its source – and on the driver assistance for more comfort and safety. We already know more or less what our model line-up will be in 2025 so, to keep pushing the envelope, we decided to set ourselves another internal challenge which was to give life to the car of our dreams. The time setting for this dream needed to be sufficiently distant in the future. We consequently chose 2035 as the year in which to set our creation
DS X E-TENSE is our creation. Our styling and technical teams were given an entirely free hand to pursue their dreams.
We dreamed about the way that customers would live and derive pleasure from driving a DS in the Year 2035. My personal dream was of a machine I would love to use, both as an automotive lover and as a customer.
I take my hat off to the men and women who pooled their dream into this superb dream car.
Materialized by the know-how of our experts, DS X E-TENSE is essentially about human emotion, guided by the avant-garde spirit we seek to foster both collectively and as automotive lovers. »
EVOCATION – THIERRY METROZ, DS AUTOMOBILES DESIGN director
« We were given complete freedom to give shape our dreams and this creative process led us to imagine a two-facetted car, capable of delivering the best of two worlds: that of providing intense, unfettered driving enjoyment, with an abundance of power, and that of blending the art of living “à la française” with autonomous motoring. In a way, DS X E-TENSE comes across as a reinterpretation of the motorcycle side-car, with a bold asymmetric stance, but on four wheels.
Our primary challenge was to conceive a truly radical roadster capable of phenomenal acceleration. Powered by two electric motors, DS X E-TENSE is engineered to produce genuine driving sensations, with an adrenalin rush heightened by an open-top cockpit configuration. The driver wears a special helmet while sitting back in a reclined bucket seat that forms an integral part of the car’s body, yet it is still fully adjustable. There is a clear tie between the colours and materials selected for the exterior and interior, and the steering wheel occupies a very much focal point of the cabin, as are the pedals, just as these features have been for more than a century. Other fundamentals include physical controls to cover the car’s basic functions in the form of chiselled toggle switches combined with other DS signature cues, such as the Clous de Paris guilloche finish.
We have also made ample use of leather which has been fashioned in a unique way to ensure remarkable comfort and to be aesthetically pleasing, while forming a near-seamless bond with the bodywork, a visual effect heightened by the pearl top stitching. The minimalist instrumentation comprises a speedometer and battery level indicator that are visible at a glance, along with a virtual timepiece that is the fruit of the imagination from B.R.M.
The cocoon part of the interior exudes an impression of space, and sensuality takes pride of place over adrenalin. Whenever I hear people saying that autonomous vehicles will allow motorists to work on the move, I must admit that I am not completely in tune with this thought. Indeed, I see autonomous driving as something that will permit us to switch off and take pleasure from travelling! I would like to see passengers take time for themselves, for time is such a valuable entity. A common denominator of all the cars designed by DS Automobiles is the desire to blend the notion of pleasure with the art of living “à la française”.
Developed in association with Focal, the wood dashboard houses all the elements that make up the sound system which is capable of reproducing the quality of a live performance. Information and even films can be projected onto the glazed surfaces, while a coffee-making machine is concealed in a bespoke cabinet.
All these features are controlled by IRIS, the car’s ‘personal assistant’. Named after the part of our eyes that defines their colour, it takes the form of a hologram which floats in space, either in the cocoon or the cockpit. Occupants can give IRIS the appearance they wish, from a humanoid figure to a sphere picked out by a neural connection pattern, or something entirely different. In addition to serving as DS X E-TENSE’s human-to-machine interface, IRIS is connected to the outside world.
The colours we selected are readily associated with French-style luxury, with hints of vermilion and madder red inside the cocoon in contrast to the Millennium Blue bodywork. This dark, rich hue blends the blue and green listed by Louis Bertrand Castel in his 18th Century repertoire of colours and its sheen conjures up the world of fashion.
We have also sought to dematerialise the car’s lighting signature. Today, all cars are built in the same way, with a bonnet, a bumper and wings, and headlights positioned at the junction of these elements. In the future, we believe lights will be dematerialised and that the surface of the body itself will instead serve as the light source. DS LIGHT VEIL light curtains provide DS X E-TENSE with a visual signature that can take different forms, with varying colours and degrees of brightness. The illuminated pearl dots situated either side of the front bumper are a familiar DS cue.
The parametrically-designed grille, meanwhile, merges seamlessly with the two-tone bonnet, the double crease of which is aligned with the driver and the centreline of the cockpit. Ingress to the cockpit and cocoon is via elytre and gullwing doors respectively, both of which are fitted with flush handles.
The DS badge at the rear is emphasised by two graphic lines that run from the upper part of the cabin to the diffuser to form an ‘X’. This ‘X shape’ also features on the car’s sides where it frames the DS Performance badge. The same bold language is also visible on interior features like the steering wheel and seats as a reference to the car’s name: DS X E-TENSE.
The lower part of the rear end is dedicated to aerodynamic efficiency and incorporates a smart diffuser. Like the front lights, the scale-effect rear lights – which also indicate the different energy-recovery phases – are dematerialised and take the form of light curtains integrated into the surface of the body panels.
It has to be said that the concept cars we have seen at motor shows in recent years haven’t really moved us. They give the impression that the notion of pleasure has been sacrificed in the new generation of electric and/or autonomous concept cars which tend to immerse occupants in a bubble packed with display screens and synthetic seats. At DS Automobiles, we seek to break away from this ideology to fulfil our own dreams and inspire the public not to lose sight of theirs. We absolutely didn’t want to produce a bland, inexpressive car. While important, design is not merely a function of end-use. It was consequently essential to add a touch of creativity and art; a form of poetry even. This is why DS X E-TENSE expresses a certain duality, not only between the cockpit and cocoon parts of the interior but also between driving enjoyment and sensuality, combined with technological efficiency. Drivers’ needs may differ radically but the intention of DS Automobiles is to address them all. »
IMPLEMENTATION – ÉRIC APODE, SVP, PRODUCTS, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, DS BRAND
« Whenever we begin the design of a new model, every one of the members of DS Automobiles’ teams brings their particular expertise and passion to the table. The designers and product creative managers are forever exploring new ground and ideas, while the technical engineers naturally always want to work at the cutting edge of their respective fields. At DS, we see ourselves as pioneers, with a mission to break away from conventional thinking. It is only afterwards, once the initial, all-important creative decisions have been taken, that we are prepared to make compromises with the vehicle’s manufacture and sale in mind.
DS X E-TENSE is a case apart. Since the objective was to bring a dream to life, we weren’t faced with any major production-related challenges. All of the parties involved were free to express their dreams and this tie-in between technology and poetry epitomises how French-style luxury can be applied to the automobile.
Although the purpose of DS X E-TENSE is to embody a dream car, I am convinced our customers will relate to our ideas. We effectively wanted to underline the two distinct worlds that we can see emerging, with a car that generates two types of emotion. In the cockpit, the urge is to drive; to drive fast and unleash the car’s extraordinary power to experience new sensations behind the wheel. Travelling in the cocoon part talks to a different set of senses. You feel a need to be protected, reassured and safe, and have time to yourself.
Autonomous driving opens up fresh perspectives and can be likened to travelling in a space vessel, in complete safety, the objective clearly being to eradicate accidents, while saving time. It is a quick, safe mode, in cocoon-like comfort, with the DS Automobiles hallmark.
When it comes to driving pleasure, however, autonomous motoring obviously has its limits. At DS Automobiles, we believe in cars and do not wish to see the sensations associated with the act of driving disappear. By 2035, this view may well have become obsolete, with the idea of having four wheels, a steering wheel and pedals appearing as a sort of retro concept. What is certain, though, is that we have no intention whatsoever of being perceived as a mere purveyor of mobility and DS X E-TENSE wasn’t conceived for car sharing. I nurture the aspiration that our customers will continue to be passionate about cars and will continue to want to own the car of their dreams. Our intention is to address those who are passionate about automobile culture and history, who are proud to own and cherish their car, who want to experience extreme sensations and feel a sense of luxury.
On the technical front, although our teams were given the liberty to express their dreams, there is a clear tie-in with the characteristics that have been hallmarks of DS Automobiles models since the brand’s creation. The cocoon is all about comfort. The use of completely new materials like feathers for the upholstery goes a step beyond the dual-density foams we employ today for the seats of DS 7 CROSSBACK. At the same time, the ultra-sophisticated driver aids and technological innovations that DS X E-TENSE packs are advanced forms of the concepts featured on our first SUV which itself represents a break with the past and lays down a marker for the ambitions we have for the future. Its predictive suspension, semi-autonomous driving capability, night time vision and soundproofing are all examples of this.
When it came to choosing the power source for DS X E-TENSE, we opted for two electric motors positioned inside each of the front wheels. The compact size and reliability of electric motors, coupled with the satisfaction of benefiting from an immediate, linear flow of power eclipsed all the other options. The phenomenal progress that has already been achieved in Formula E racing makes the dream of enjoying incredible power outputs an increasing likelihood in the medium term. The two motors drive through a transmission system that generates its own sensations, while the mid-rear position of the battery ensures a balanced weight distribution, contributing to DS X E-TENSE’s neutral handling which is further perfected by its innovative suspension.
The brakes are avant-garde, too, and are the first tangible benefits of our Formula E research programme. It is our belief that brake pads will be a thing of the past, since the motors inside the wheels will have the ability to slow the car as they simultaneously recover the energy produced while decelerating. They also spell the end of the particulate emissions produced under braking.
We are a young brand and, together, we have pooled our dreams to conceive the DS of 2035. I for one would love to fast forward now to 2035 to be able to drive such a creation! »