Thinking radically differently – the Citroën OLI Concept

Concept cars normally follow their own laws. They are presented, attract media attention, and after a short time disappear in the arsenal of unrealized dreams. A few years later, a production vehicle appears on the market that has at least one control button from the concept car. The button is celebrated as visionary courage, and that's where the story usually ends.

We hope things will be different for the Citroën OLI Concept.

Because Citroën shows a radically different way of thinking as an answer to many questions that move us. Admittedly, the OLI Concept looks like Lego kits and it won't win a beauty award. But that's not the mission either.

Citroen OLI Concept
Citroën OLI Concept

The car is a manifesto

It goes against the trend of getting bigger and getting heavier. Does an electric car have to weigh 2 tons or more? The brand with the double chevron says no. The OLI Concept weighs 1000 kilograms and has a range of 400 kilometers. All you need is a small battery with 40 kWh, a top speed limited to 110 km/h and an electric motor.

Citroën uses simple, lightweight parts, such as identical front doors. The seats are deliberately designed to be simple; the basic idea is reminiscent of the concept in the 2 CV. They require 80% fewer parts than conventional seating.

Size comparison - OLI Concept and Citroen AMI
Size comparison - OLI Concept and Citroën AMI

Citroën speaks of a functional aesthetic, uses many recycled parts, and remembers innovations from the past. Bonnet, roof and rear bed are made of a honeycomb corrugated fiberglass structure. The brand is thus following the innovative Citroën BX days, when both the bonnet and the tailgate as well as other body parts were made of plastic.

The car with the best ecological balance

The goal is very ambitious. Citroën wants to build the car with the best ecological balance. Lightweight construction, restrained use of materials and a high utility value are in the foreground. A long service life is planned from the start. A sustainable generation of vehicles could emerge from the OLI Concept. Over the course of the vehicle's life, parts and design can easily be swapped out, replaced or sensibly supplemented with technical innovations.

The vehicles would always be up-to-date and technically state-of-the-art. Something that was often thought about, propagated again and again, but never realised, would become reality.

Interior with space for the whole family
Interior with space for the whole family

In addition, Citroën pays attention to low overall costs and has a closed circuit as an idea, in which components from vehicles that are no longer used can be installed inexpensively in other OLI vehicles.

The Citroën Heritage Factor

What sounds like the future has already happened. 2 CV was the name of the car that mobilized France and served the nation for a long time. Sustainable, inexpensive, probably the car with the best eco-balance when nobody was talking about it.

A digital magnifier speedometer in the style of the GS or BX and CX has ventured into the ultimate modern dashboard with sockets, USB ports, smartphone station and dockable Bluetooth speakers. Some heritage is allowed, albeit digitally.

Stable and light - roof made of innovative honeycomb structure
Stable and light - roof made of innovative honeycomb structure

The OLI Concept is a family-friendly lightweight that harks back to perhaps more sensible times. Back when cars still weighed 900 kilograms. And everything weighing more than 2 tons was considered a commercial vehicle.

Citroën could build a revolutionary car. It would cost less than €25.000 and would in no way involve sacrifices or restrictions. It would be long-lasting, trend-setting, a long overdue answer to the urgent problems of finite raw materials.

The only question is, do you have the courage to do it?

We will see. Pretty soon. The new Citroën C3 will answer the questions. The OLI Concept is intended to provide ideas, and in 2023 the new C3 version will take the stage.

It would be a French Revolution, once again, if the OLI spirit were to be found in the new C3.

With media material from Citroën Communication

12 thoughts on "Thinking radically differently – the Citroën OLI Concept"

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    Is the windshield really vertical? Then the drag coefficient really doesn't seem to matter! The vehicle is designed as a pure city car, on the Autobahn the wind noise would kill us!

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      I would not overrate 😉

      Is an oversubscribed concept car.

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      I think it's relatively unlikely at 110 km/h.

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    Funny by the way. In the movie IRON SKY, a smartphone replaces the heavy and defective mainframe (a kind of Zuse) of a Nazi UFO...

    Friends have a fully equipped car. The buyer proudly pointed out the rear screens in the front headrests. Turns out they're as redundant as a melanoma. The daughters on the back seat prefer their smartphones, tablets and Bluetooth earphones, encapsulate themselves completely and individually from the expensive infotainment.
    You could have saved yourself, the vehicle and the environment completely the money, weight and built-in electronic waste. Less is often more...

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      ... that's why I didn't want any monitors for the back seats on my 2011 Saab ... and I looked/waited a little extra until there was such a variant (suitable for me) on offer.

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        That was really visionary in 2011...

        11 years later there are more empirical values ​​and some crosses on the equipment lists have since been regretted afterwards.

        But 11 years ago things were different. And just 3 or 4 years ago, the word "fully equipped" was an unthinking magic word to sell young used vehicles...

        I think it's damn good that you allowed yourself an opinion 11 years ago. what they consciously want or reject. I don't remember exactly where I was at the time.

  • blank

    Well written and well balanced...

    Enthusiasm for the approaches realized in the concept car spills over, with a small head of skepticism as to how much of it might actually be found and when in which production vehicle.

    Calm, credible and factual automotive journalism. Typical Tom.

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    I like some things inside.

    “minimal” screens – gorgeous!!!! 😉
    (don't know if it's ever been noticed that I'm not a fan of these mostly huge "multiplex cinemas" below the front window)
    modular systems
    (but others had it too...I think it did, but never worked)
    (I think it's good, but whether that's comfortable in the long run)
    Smartphone as “main computer”
    (I like the idea, but due to various and possibly future connections and “thousands” of different sizes, I would find “charging mat” and “radio connection” better)
    I also almost believe that Apple, Google, Amazon (yes, they are big in mobility, etc.) & Co. are "faster" and often "better" than car manufacturers ....
    (But I'm not so sure if that's really a good thing at the moment)
    I can still remember how we were mocked with our first few 9000's as philistines, pensioners, small-minded or similar .... but when refrigerators and washing machines suddenly disappeared easily in the Saab, the astonishment was always great; meanwhile, almost every manufacturer has hatchbacks on offer again (even if they don't usually call them that) 😉

    (I think this kind of opening is good; it certainly makes it easier to get started; especially for older people... I tried out a few things with my father; by the way, that was also one of the reasons why I ended up with Mexican Sweden in 2014) 🙂

    ... but outside .... oh well. 🙁
    You should at least think about the windshield again 😉
    (I still think the 900's are "brilliant")

    And “PickUp rear area is not needed in most areas, is it?
    I would find a clever new hatchback variant makes more sense.

    ... and (generally) no, Tesla's Cybertruck should never be used as a "model" for any car .... 😉 🙁

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      Crap… an editing function is clearly missing here (at least for a few minutes)! 😉 😉 😉
      (just when I see how many spelling mistakes I'm currently making because of this stupid "illness-related" ergonomic keyboard) 😉

      Small supplement:
      In the video all this is presented very positively …. and especially value placed on "weight" (why the cart is then also so "lame"). 😉

      But also the car seems "huge" compared to cars just a few decades ago (our beloved Saabs included)!!!!

      I think we're generally going the wrong way.
      We should (in many things) become smaller and “modest” again.
      I think that would take more.
      (I like to remind you of “my” Quarks article, which has already been linked several times, which generally deals with SUVs and in the end “rather incidentally” with smaller roads and thus more living and quality of life through “smaller cars”.

      A little personal example:
      We have a garage here with a somewhat "narrower entrance".
      In the past (80's) even the largest car of a painting company easily fit in there (long Hanomag Henschel flatbed with large attachment for glass/windows/etc.) ....
      Some of the current residents even have “problems” getting in and out with their current Polo. 🙁

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    Well, the Fernzosen are in a great mood, a Trabi SUV or "Babbesuff" ... I'm laughing my ass off! Sachsenring 2.0,, that's ok, I'm curious what other ideas the transition from combustion engines to e-cars will bring onto the market. Lightweight and safe, that's something!
    There is still the question of how the composite materials can be recycled, thermal is always possible but is not a circular economy. Installing the parts in other cars is more what we are doing with our SAABs right now. What about broken parts and those that no one wants anymore?

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      Yes, we do it with our old Saab. On Sunday I have 9k workshop again. I'm already looking forward.

      The automotive industry has some catching up to do when it comes to the circular economy. I like the idea being propagated, as well as the focus on components that are easy to replace. The last few decades have taken a different path. Everything was becoming more and more complex and difficult to repair, and also more expensive. If Citroën (really) took a different route, that would be welcomed.

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    The video promises a lot. A general rethinking, now towards light, clever cars. If it's not just (well done) marketing, then it's going to be exciting.

    But I'm skeptical. The industry promises, but only changes if there is a lot of pressure. Is Citroën different?

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