Imagine a future world starved of resources where carmakers have to resort to replacing the metal in your car’s roof and hood with cardboard. That’s what Citroën has done with a new concept car designed in anticipation of a resourceless world, using cardboard instead of steel for those parts. This is no ordinary cardboard, but a specialised honeycomb format reinforced with a plastic coating on each side that is strong enough to be stood on without buckling.
It was developed in partnership with German chemical giant BASF. This and a vertical windscreen designed to reduce the amount of glass needed and save weight make the electric Citroën “Oli” concept car look like a futuristic SUV. During the Soviet era, a common, erroneous, urban myth held that the Trabant, a small two-stroke engine car produced in former East Germany, had a body made of reinforced cardboard – and if it rained hard enough you could punch a hole in it.
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In fact, the Trabant was made of “duroplast”, plastic reinforced with recycled cotton waste from the former Soviet Union. Citroën, which is part of world No. 4 carmaker Stellantis, and BASF have succeeded in turning popular legend into reality. “It’s more than just a concept car like you’re used to seeing,” Citroën director of future products Anne Laliron told Reuters. “It’s almost an expression of new lifestyles.”
Designers at Dacia, the low-cost brand of Renault, have also tried their hand at this exercise, coming up with the “Manifesto” concept car. Unveiled in mid-September, it also seems to have come out of a “Mad Max” movie, set in a post-apocalypse world where oil is worth more than gold.
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