Stunning Peugeot Inception hints at future EVs

A 680hp Peugeot isn't coming anytime soon; a Peugeot that looks a bit like this might be, though

By Matt Bird / Friday, 6 January 2023 / Loading comments

You know how it goes with concept cars, especially French ones. A stunning piece of design will be revealed, something new on four wheels that you can’t stop looking at, only for its production applicability to be reduced to door handles or seat fabric. On the face of it, the Peugeot Inception Concept seems like more of the same. It has way more power than any other Peugeot (680hp from a 100kWh battery), a couple of crazy concept touches (including 7.25m squared of glass for a passenger capsule) and a look that makes any other four-seat car – even the electric ones – look a bit old hat. It’s incredible.

However, rather than just a designer’s flight of fancy, Peugeot maintains there are tangible aspects to the Inception as well. It has been built on an upcoming EV platform, for example, the STLA-Large architecture that’s described as ‘BEV-by-design’ by Stellantis and one of four new toolkits on the way to underpin a variety of cars. Perhaps the electric age is the time for the large French executive car – the Inception is five metres long and just 1.34m high – to make a glorious comeback.

Furthermore, Peugeot suggests that the Inception ‘introduces a new, simpler and more refined design language for the brand’, one that will be seen on production cars from 2025. Great news if it means cars that even faintly resemble this. The familiar Peugeot claw light design is now merged into the front grille, itself made of glass, also housing the sensors and Peugeot badge for a much cleaner look than is often seen with front ends festooned with add-ons or that look odd for a missing grille. The rear continues the claw theme in even more dramatic fashion. It’s been a successful design cue for Peugeot these past few years, and the Inception shows it’s here to stay.

If anything the interior is even more radical, but again Peugeot insists that there is future production validity here. It’s said to preview the next generation of i-Cockpit, the interior concept first introduced a decade ago. Inspired by the world of gaming, the new ‘Hypersquare’ control system essentially makes the steering wheel a tablet, with all the vital information right there ahead of the driver and freeing up a lot of space. Each display is accessed by controls in the four circular recesses, so the information can be managed without the driver taking their hands from the wheel. It’s like the most elegant Formula 1 wheel ever seen, and Peugeot wants it in a car by the end of the decade. The Inception, of course, also offers recycled upholstery, steer-by-wire technology and Level 4 autonomous driving.

All very concept car cool, right down to a tech bar across the dash for entertainment when charging. Perhaps what’s most interesting about the Inception, however, is what’s underneath it, and what will be coming for future Peugeot EVs. There’s never going to be a way to make the underlying architecture look as cool as what’s above, but the numbers being discussed for the STLA-Large platform are encouraging. Beyond 680hp, three motors, four-wheel drive and 0-62mph in less than three seconds is a claimed 497-mile range – Birmingham to Le Mans is 490, for reference – and 800V technology. Remember the battery isn’t enormous, either at 100kWh, the range claim coming from incredible efficiency: 12.5kWh per 100km is quoted, or 4.97 miles per kWh. The 800V is the really important bit for charging, as seen in cars like the Porsche Taycan and Kia EV6. It means 93 miles can be added in five minutes, reckons Peugeot, and wireless induction charging is possible.

Peugeot CEO Linda Jackson said: “Peugeot is committed to the electrification of its range. In 2023, our entire line-up will be electrified and in the next two years, five new 100% electric models will be launched. Our ambition is simple: to make Peugeot the leading electric brand in Europe by 2030. This objective and ambitious vision pave the way for a radical transformation for the brand, as represented by the Inception Concept.” A bold ambition, for sure, but production Peugeots inspired by the Inception has got to be a good start.

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