With a first edition scheduled for May 18 and 19, 2022, l’EcoGreen Gas follows the Shell Eco-Marathon and the EducEco challenge organized to set sobriety records. On the racing circuit of Fay-de-Bretagne (44), the starting signal was preceded by an official lap in a funny electric machine: The CvO-H01. Its designer Christian van Oost presents it to us.
If the public can hold back for a few years the presentation of original prototypes in the various international car shows, the designers, engineers and other managers who follow these projects remain far too often unknown. It is sometimes a few years later that their names emerge, thanks to a change of orientation or the development of new concepts carried out within a personal company.
There is that in the story of Christian van Oost, both engineer and designer. ” I was in the Renault Design team between 1987 and 1997, with a stint of just over 2 years at Volvo Göteborg in Sweden. There I worked on a bus concept presented in 1995 and the S80 project “Launches our interlocutor.
« At Renault Design, I exercised my art on the Racoon. This amphibious 4×4 car was unveiled in 1992 at the Geneva Motor Show. I also collaborated in the development of the concept car Scenic “, he continues.
A film by Richard Berry and Patrick Timsit
After 2 years at Valeo, where he participated in the design of equipment for, among others, the Audi Al2, Renault Vel Satis, and Pininfarina Dardo, Christian van Oost was vice-president of design for Design Performance within a team of 45 people. ” It was between 1999 and 2002. I was in contact with the builders. For example, for Peugeot, we created the E-Doll and Cameleo concept cars. The latter was a pickup based on a 307 station wagon “, he comments.
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Our contact also worked on the creation of logos and visual identities. Undoubtedly the most amusing and exhilarating of his adventures is his participation in the film directed by Richard Berry in 1999. In The Delicate Art of Seduction, Patrick Timsit plays the role of a car designer with a passion for cathedrals.
« In this story, Patrick Timsit does my job. I advised Richard Berry throughout the shoot. I spent an entire Saturday afternoon with him. My team and I designed and built the Arca prototype that we see in the film in 3 weeks. The flying buttresses of Notre-Dame de Paris inspired me to get the lines of the vehicle “, completes our interviewee.
Michel Vaillant legacy
« When I ended my collaboration with Design Performance, I thought of Michel Vaillant. I wanted to do like him: build and drive cars. I worked on new concepts through my company CvOracing. Especially for the Gentlemen Drivers of the V2V endurance championship », souvient Christian van Oost.
« At the time, the pilots drove with sport-protos. Thus the SR3 of the British manufacturer Radical. It was presented as a Oui-Oui car equipped with a motorcycle engine. Some entrants dreamed of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. They wanted a nice racing car. So I designed the CvO-R01 and CV0-R02 adapted to their piloting. I provided a copy to one of the Dessange sons “, he explains.
« As the rules change very quickly in competition, this activity was not viable in the long term for my company “, he laments
Christian van Oost is still very active today. From 2007, it split. On the one hand as head of the program devoted to new mobility at the Nantes Atlantique design school. On the other within its new CvOdesign structure.
« First opened in Nantes, my design office is now in Saint-Nazaire. I have 600 m2 of premises in the heart of the city. This allows me to offer a wide variety of services for companies. It ranges from tools for the automotive sector to fire trucks “, he specifies.
We come to the CvO-H01 electric roadster produced on demand. Each copy is unique. Power depends on usage. A quadricycle homologation to circulate on the road is possible. Designed as a competition vehicle, with very reliable components, some of which come from aviation and the original Formula Renault rack and pinion, it relies on a high-performance chassis.
« Made of strong aluminium, the frame is perforated to lighten it. That’s why the car weighs only 180 kg with its LiFePO4 battery with an energy capacity of 4 kWh “, highlights our interlocutor.
A big potential
« The CvO-H01 has been designed for different uses. This is already the case for driving courses for people with reduced mobility. As part of a structure like Handisport Auto, for example. But also by thinking of itinerant operations such as the criterium for young drivers », revele Christian van Oost.
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« Adults can also drive the CvO-H01, either using the pedals to accelerate and brake, or with the joystick-style controller on the dashboard. You have to pull it to accelerate, and push it to brake. The charge transfer accompanies the movement. It’s easier for people who don’t have much strength, like children in particular “, he explains.
« I wanted to be inclusive by allowing as many people as possible to drive this vehicle, without differentiation. Hence a lot of work on ergonomics. The body shape is reminiscent of pre-war racing cars. The side bars represent the large exhaust pipes of the time. However, they are very useful for people with reduced mobility. They form an access threshold for people in wheelchairs “, he details.
An on-board computer for different uses
« Acceleration, torque, maximum speed, engine braking: everything can be configured according to user profiles. Thus, with 6-year-old children, the acceleration is very gradual, the engine develops little torque, the engine brake is immediate and the maximum speed is 10 to 15 km/h. », illustrated Christian van Oost.
« When the latter is limited to 25 km/h, the range is around 250 km. The CvO-H01 can travel up to 80 km/h. In this case, the radius of action is divided by 3. This evolving vehicle is unique, with its front/rear interchangeable elements, as on the Citroën Ami », Appears-t-il.
« I am thinking about other body presentations for the following copies. By taking inspiration for example from Ferrari, sports prototypes, or with a neo-retro look. I can really offer 100% personalized on this basis “, he rejoices.
Spirit of La Chapelle?
Those who are interested in car productions on the margins of the major manufacturers are mostly familiar with the creations of La Chapelle. The company has for example reproduced the Bugatti Type 55 in the original format, but also in 6/10th.
Without referring to a specific model, the CvO-H01 plays a bit in the same court. It could receive more or less important body sizes. It can be used by children and adults alike, both for fun and for educational purposes. Which has a price.
« Around 25,000 euros. The CvO-H01 is built in 2 months from the order. It already takes 2 weeks to assemble the chassis. The seats are in leather, made by a recognized saddler. It is possible to deliver a less powerful version to reduce the price to 15,000 euros », soulful Christian van Oost.
« We can take care of the financing. For example with an LOA at 500 euros per month. But also in B2B rental for events or training “, concludes our interlocutor.
Automobile Propre and I would like to thank Christian van Oost very much for his spontaneity, his availability and his testimony.