Italdesign Giugiaro has presented its all-electric Clipper MPV design study at this week’s Geneva Motor Show. The name of the vehicle hints at “clipper” ships, which enjoyed their heyday in the latter half of the 19th century transporting cargo like spices.
Underpinned by the Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) platform developed by Volkswagen Group, the concept car can accommodate up to 6 people, seated in three rows of two seats; it features an electric powertrain comprising two 110 kW engines, housed one up front and one at the back, offering a claimed range of 336 miles (540 km). It also has four-wheel drive with fully independent wheels, while the battery packs are housed inside the floor.
The car’s entirely electric set-up and the use of the MQB platform with its flat floor dictated the overall look of Clipper also in terms of the design of the exterior.
“We rationalised like never before, while designing Clipper” explained Giorgetto Giugiaro, “and we built the car as if it were, in theory, close to the production level, apart from a few necessary modifications. The only ‘exotic’ license we allowed ourselves was to eliminate the conventional B-pillar and design the car with ‘butterfly’ doors at the front and ‘gull-wing’ doors at the back”.
The B-pillar is actually integrated in the structure of the back doors, concealed below the windows: this solution allows for a single, large opening for access to all three rows of seats in the passenger compartment, further facilitated by the automatic and simultaneous opening of front and back doors on the same side. When exiting the vehicle from the rear seats, the electronic system guarantees safety at all times by releasing and lifting the front door first, followed by the back door.
The electric engine dictated the design of the front: with no need to incorporate a front grille for radiator cooling as required in cars with endothermic engines, two air intakes were positioned vertically between the light clusters and the wheel arches; another two were included horizontally just under the headlights to channel the airflow under the floor where the battery packs are housed, for the purpose of cooling. Two similar vents are positioned at the back of the car for extraction of the air flow. The curve of the waistline traces a line from the front bonnet along the side of the car all the way to the C-pillar.
The panoramic windscreen sweeps all the way back to the rear spoiler. The enlarged rear tailgate features integrated light clusters whose main functions are duplicated, when the tailgate is open, by additional lights built into the rear bumper, ensuring the vehicle is visible at all times.
Below the C-pillar are two concealed vents that provide a constant supply of fresh air inside the passenger compartment.
Clipper was designed, engineered and built at the Italdesign Giugiaro plant in Moncalieri (Turin).
Source: Italdesign Giugiaro