With the E-Mehari, first introduced back in December and set to be launched this spring, the French carmaker confirms its ambition to offer cheery, optimistic vehicles that are quite different from many aggressively-designed cars of today.
The soon-to-be launched electric car also evolves the idea of a modern “Méhari” anticipated at the past Frankfurt Show with the Cactus M Concept.
The E-Mehari project was started in March 2015 and completed under the direction of Citroën Design Director Alexandre Malval over the course of just nine months.
The main design theme was selected in June 2015 and the first car left the Rennes production plant in December, in time for the first official presentation.
The design team included:
- Alexandre Malval, Citroën Design Director
- Pierre Authier, Program Design Director
- Cyril Pietton, Head of Exterior Design
- Hélène Veilleux, Head of Color & Trim
- Frederic Angibaud, Exterior Designer
- Henri Berger, Project Design Manager
Like the iconic predecessor, the new E-MEHARI is a four-seater convertible – with a folding rear bench – and features a plastic body – ABS in the 1968 Méhari, thermoformed plastic in the E-Mehari.
This material is corrosion-free, allows for maintenance-free paintwork and provides elasticity to withstand minor impacts.
Like in the 1968 Méhari, the car has a removable top closed at the side by a foldaway system with large windows. Users can cover the front, the rear, the side or the whole vehicle.
The E-Mehari is 3.81m long, 1.87m wide and 1.65 m tall. It features a raised body and an off-road-like, rugged look, with black plastic protective surroundings, prominent wheel arches and vertical pillars, which stand out thanks to the silver finish.
The exterior design includes many of the current design DNA’s styling cues, with clean surfaces defined by soft contours and smooth lines.
In particular, the “smiling” front end features the dual headlights layout – similar to the C4 Cactus and C4 Picasso models.
The ribbed door pattern is a nod to the designers of the original Méhari and the undulating lines of the bodywork.
The choice of available body colors reflects the boldness of the exterior and also the hues present on the launch of the original Méhari.
The E-Mehari offers a wide range of possibilities for personalization, giving customers the choice among four body colors, two roof colors and two interior trim colors.
The interior trim is made plastic-coated fabric and is completely waterproof.
The E-Mehari is equipped with an all-electric drivetrain with battery technology based on the expertise of France’s Bolloré Group.
The LMP® (Lithium Metal Polymer) batteries allow to achieve a long range with performance, reliability and security. The main performances of the E-MEHARI are a top speed of 110 kph anda range of 200 km in the city.
LMP batteries are dry batteries (it means “fully solid”) giving them many advantages such as not being weather-sensitive.
These functional batteries can be fully recharged in eight hours on a 16A socket (domestic station or public stations such as Autolib in France), or in 13 hours on a 10A domestic socket.
Built at the PSA Peugeot Citroën plant in Rennes, the E-Mehari will be launched in spring 2016.
(Image Courtesy: Citroën for Car Body Design)