Italdesign Giugiaro has been working with Volkswagen since the 70’s (owned by the VW group since 2010), and the coachbuilder is no stranger to the Golf platform. The Clipper EV is one of two MQB platform-based concepts unleashed at the Geneva Motor Show, the first being the Volkswagen T-Roc, a diesel-powered compact crossover that may even see production in some form.
The Clipper is a 6-seat MPV (i.e. a minivan) built for easy access and low emissions. The two butterfly style front doors open simultaneously with the rear gull wings, revealing an absence of B-pillars, at least in their traditional form. The all-wheel drive Clipper utilizes rear door mounted B-pillars that leave a wide open access point for the three rows of seats and make simultaneous access to all seats possible. Reminds me a lot of the Tesla Model X and its “Falcon Wing” doors. This would be a welcomed feature for a family vehicle based on such a small, flexible platform.
To help get the family around town, Giugiaro has popped in a pair of electric motors, one at either end, putting out 149 hp each and capable of zipping the Clipper around at speeds of up to 126 mph. While the design is a concept at the moment, road tests have already begun to research how the Clipper holds up to real-world driving. These tests claim to get 335 miles out of each charge of the undercarriage mounted batteries of the Golf-based concept car.
The batteries being mounted below the cabin allows for the familiar flat floor we’ve seen in other hit EVs, which is just one feature that adds to the surprising spacious interior. The two rear rows of fold flat seats open up just under 32 cubic feet of cargo area, in case you’re still in “family planning” mood.
Well-appointed with electronics, the Clipper aims to entertain your family for every one of those 335 miles with iPad minis mounted in the front four headrests that will help settle any disputes on what to watch. The normal cluster of dashboard controls have been transferred to the center console, mounted with an 11-inch tablet that slides all the way back to the third row in case little Timmy’s ADD kicks in mid trip.
During the show, Italdesign Giugiaro showed off a second variation of the Clipper, a Ducati-badged red Clipper with sleeker doors and C-pillars. Both versions are rather non-descript from the front but feature a rear reminiscent of the Audi Q5, another Volkswagen-owned product. Speaking of which, one of Audi’s plug-in hybrid drivetrains might make the Clipper EV more practical/affordable for many families.
If the Clipper does make it to production (and that’s a big “if”), some inevitable changes would need to be made that could prove to be detrimental to the concept. The thinner-than-legal seats would need to be bulked up to meet safety regulations and the gull wing and butterfly doors rarely make it to the production phase of any car. That would also eliminate the clever skylights created at the top of each door and hatch.
Still, it’s outside-of-the-box ideas like the Clipper EV which give the auto industry such depth. More importantly, creations such as the T-Roc and Clipper are proof that crossovers have earned their place in our daily commute, and can provide a welcome compromise that suits all our family needs.