Citroën ‘Airplane’ On Wheels Concept Unveiled

French carmaker Citroën’s latest flight-of-fancy aims to offer an aeronautical travel experience to the future road user.

Its 19_19 Concept follows on from the AMIOne Concept shown at the Geneva Motor Show 2019 employs aircraft design cues so liberally that some observers would draw parallels to the auto industry’s obsession with aerospace styling for some four decades from the 1930s onwards.

Naturally, it’s a BEV with its subframe mimicking design features of a skateboard, something that Ford is also exploring in a bid to keep center of gravity as low as possible. Streamlined, the subframe comprises aerodynamic appendages and piping to improve air flow, as well as an array of sensors and radars useful to the operation of the vehicle.

It also makes the claim to have a market leading battery capacity allowing a range of nearly 500 miles. Performance is a claimed 0 to 62mph sprint time of five seconds and a top speed of 124mph thanks to 100kWh batteries. It’s four-wheel-drive system deploys two motors developing torque of 590ft-lbs and power of 455bhp. With a view to part-time autonomous driving LiDARs are mounted on the roof to become both a design feature but also to work in sets of two for greater stability.

A side panel detects the arrival of the driver and instigates a welcome procedure by displaying animated graphic messages, for example illustrating the locking and unlocking of the doors. Inside the glazed area at the front is grey-tinted so passengers can see and be seen at mid-height. At the rear, blue micro-perforated trim safeguards the privacy of passengers, enabling them to see out while not being seen.

A steering wheel remains so that the driver can take back control of the vehicle where necessary. In its center there is a screen that features an animated display of the Citroën chevrons from across the generations and is ‘monostable’ so that the chevrons remain horizontal when the wheel is turned.

Pierre Leclercq, head of Citroën design: “With 19_19 Concept, we sought to rewrite the automotive rule book with a high-impact vehicle featuring a strong and powerful design inspired by the world of aviation. As an aerodynamic and technological comfort bubble floating above the road, 19_19 Concept showcases details like the new-generation light signatures, the aerodynamic appendices and the wheels developed by Goodyear.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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