With the EZ-Ultimo, Renault’s designers have completed a trilogy of concept vehicles that explore the possibilities of shared and autonomous mobility. The EZ-Ultimo is a luxury vehicle that could be used for a single trip to a special event, or by a hotel to pamper guests. It follows the EZ-GO, a robot-taxi, and the EZ-PRO, a “last mile” delivery vehicle. “For the year 2018, we really wanted to look into the future,” said Laurens Van den Acker, Renault’s corporate design director. “Probably the most interesting and exciting development is when we switch from personal mobility, where you own your own car, to mobility services”.
Renault calls the Ultimo a “coach 2.0,” and it draws inspiration from the luxury horse-drawn broughams of the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as contemporary architecture and sculptures. EZ-Ultimo is meant to travel in harmony with the urban environment. It is nearly six meters long, but just 1.35 meters high. The body is divided into two zones: the front and roof are black with a hint of green, with champagne-hued brushed aluminum flanks and diamond-shaped facets that let in light but protect the privacy of passengers. “The luxury world is a sensitive subject for many people,” said Yasu Jordan Sato, the exterior designer of the EZ-Ultimo. “We wanted something that was understated, elegant and stately.”
Inside Ultimo is a “cocoon” of dark green leather and velvet, marble, and a pale herringbone walnut wood floor — “like a lounge in a boutique hotel,” said Janique Favrel, who designed the color and trim with Sanam Viseux. Two passengers sit on a couch, facing a single Eames-like lounge chair. A bespoke leather suitcase nestles into a hatch at the rear of the car. “We made it asymmetric on purpose,” said Laurent Negroni, who designed the interior. “We wanted to play with the space a bit, give it a rhythm.” The goal? “When you close the door, you forget you’re in a car,” Negroni said.
The decision by Renault, a maker of mass-market automobiles, to create a luxury concept might seem surprising, Van den Acker acknowledged. “Is this really an area where Renault should be, because we are a popular brand?” he said. “But we felt that this was a chance for us, because Renault has always been known for democratizing innovation. Anybody can attain an exclusive luxury experience in this car — you can buy a trip for five or 10 km.”