Now, this is a range-extender.
Renault has designed an electric concept vehicle that can stretch to accommodate a larger battery pack for long trips.
The Morphoz is a compact SUV with a 40 kWh battery pack that can cover up to 249 miles (on the European scale) in city mode, but there’s also a travel mode that extends the wheelbase along with the range.
The idea is that you would drive it to a public battery exchange station, which robotically installs an extra 50 kWh pack that provides the Morphoz with a combined 435 miles of driving between charges, plus a boost in power from 134 hp to 214 hp.
The rear end of the vehicle simultaneously protrudes to make the trunk and passenger area more spacious, allowing the rear seats to move farther back for more of a business class experience.
Renault has been involved with battery swapping in the past through a failed project in Israel called Better Place, but that involved exchanging the entire battery. The Tesla Model S was initially offered with the capability, but the automaker decided to build out its successful network of fast-charging Supercharger stations instead.
Along with its unique ability, the Morphoz has the full laundry list of concept car features, including semi-autonomous driving capability and a cabin with more screens than Times Square.
While the Morphoz won’t be going on sale as-is anytime soon, it is built on a modular platform shared with Nissan and Mitsubishi that will spawn a production crossover next year.