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French carmaker Peugeot will unveil its vision for the future at this year’s Paris Motor Show. The concept exemplifies the brand’s rich heritage, hinting at the iconic 504 Coupé, yet it is a fully autonomous, electric and connected vehicle of the future.

Jean-Philippe Imparato, CEO of Peugeot: “The e-LEGEND is not just a technological manifesto. This is the vision of a brand actively focused on an optimistic and ultra-desirable future. For Peugeot, autonomy and electric are synonymous with even stronger sensations. Boredom will never be part of our DNA.”

The iconic Peugeot 504 Coupé

The e-LEGEND concept offers four very different driving ambiences, each selected depending on traffic conditions, or driver preference. The SOFT autonomous mode focuses on the comfort of vehicle occupants, with digital screens and information displays reduced to a minimum. The SHARP autonomous mode features maximum connectivity for digital activity while the LEGEND manual mode is used for cruising and the interior ambience merges the iconic 504 Coupe’s three dial dashboard with a digitally-created wood effect on screens. Finally BOOST manual mode offers a more dynamic and stimulating driving thanks to a powerful electric engine, with projection of the road on a single, large screen. The fully autonomous capabilities of the vehicle are designed to give drivers more time to themselves, with the company’s acclaimed i- Cockpit offering a comfortable and intuitive environment in which to pursue other activities. When in autonomous mode, the interior configuration changes, with the steering wheel retracting in order to make the 49-inch central screen fully visible. The front seats recline for extra comfort and the side armrests deploy automatically, freeing up a large storage area and induction charging area for smart phones and other devices.

A partnership with AI technology company, Soundhound Inc. offers a voice-activated personal assistant for autonomous driving. The driver can change the driving style of the car, listen to music and open and close the electrified doors. Using the digitised voice of the Style Director, Gilles Vidal, the system works in 17 different languages; a version of this will be available in Peugeot production vehicles within two years. Audio partner, Focal has worked to ensure optimal sound diffusion. This allows the driver to input navigation voice commands, while the other occupants of the car listen to music, or places each individual occupant in their own sound bubble, meaning they can each listen to different things without affecting the others.

The e-LEGEND CONCEPT is powered by a 100% electric power train, with the 100 kWh batteries reaching 800 Nm torque and 340 Kw power, distributed to the four-wheel drive. This level of performance makes it possible to travel 0-100kmh in less than 4 seconds and reach a maximum speed of 220kmh. Offering induction charging, the range is 600km according to the WLTP protocol, of which 500 km are accessible in 25 minutes thanks to a fast recharge.

Earlier this week, I took time to speak to a number of people on the subject of the electric powered car and two concerns arose, the cost of the vehicle and the range. Clearly as time goes by, these two key elements must be an absolute priority for carmakers. I will admit that range continues to be improved as batteries continue to be developed, so how about bringing the cost of owning such a vehicle within the reach of more people?

Ian Lynas.

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