Lancia, which is part of the FCA Group within Stellantis, seemed to have no future not so long ago. Its declining sales numbers and a stagnant range with just one model put its continued existence at risk, and it was only Italians who seemed to have any affinity for the brand.
Stellantis sees Lancia as a brand with some hope and is willing to help it revive and embark on a new era. For a start, the 116-year old company has worked on a new brand vision which takes it into the electric age.
The brand vision has a design vision which was described last November and previewed in the Pu+Ra Zero, a 3-dimensional ‘manifesto’ that will guide the designers of the 3 new Lancia models to be launched between 2024 and 2028. Created from the words ‘Pure’ and ‘Radical’, Lancia Pu+Ra Design is described as a sustainable design language that is intended to ‘last for the next 100 years’.
Design basis for new Ypsilon
While the Pu+Ra Zero was a strange looking ‘vehicle’ (looking like it was a large Microsoft Arc Mouse!), the Pu+Ra HPE concept unveiled today has a form that is more recognisable as a car. Many of its styling elements will appear in the new Ypsilon which will succeed the current one that is 12 years old now.
The ‘HPE’ in the name has been used before in the 1970s and 1980s on the Beta. Back then, it stood for ‘High Performance Estate’, and then changed to ‘High Performance Executive’. In the 21st century, it is now stands for High Performance Electric, with the ‘E’ also referring to ‘Eco-sustainable’, ‘Exciting’ and ‘Evolved’.
Progressive Green is the name of the colour on the bodywork. It is ‘progressive’ in how it looks ahead to the future of the brand and to its customers, while ‘green’ for its value in terms of sustainability. The bluish green shade – with a warm gilt hue, produced using liquid metal with the latest generation pigments – pays tribute to the historic and timeless Lancia Flaminia Azzurro Vincennes.
Past and future links
The front reinterprets the historic Lancia grille, now taken forward into the future by 3 rays of light that make it iconic, memorable and visible from afar. Standing out above the calice is the new Lancia script, produced using an original font that draws its inspiration from the fashion world.
The innovative circular roof provides a broad, panoramic view, with a clear reference to architectural elements and characteristic of the new Lancia design language. The rear window is also reminiscent of the Lancia of the 1970s Beta HPE, with enveloping horizontal lines that revisit the renowned sun blind structure, with a modern twist. The large windows emphasize natural light, for the concept of ‘home feeling’.
‘Home feeling’ experience
Automotive designers look at other industries for inspiration and also see some association in products. For the Pu+Ra HPE, a typically Italian ‘home feeling’ experience was in the brief and they have collaborated with Cassina, a leader in the upscale furniture industry. Like Lancia, this Italian design company has nearly 100 years of history, innovation and research.
Certain furnishings that set the tone of a home have been transferred to the Pu+Ra HPE. These can be seen in the centrality of upholstered items in the living room; the coffee table, a multifunctional central element; and the warmth of the carpet.
The inspiration for the design of Italian furniture is evident in the round carpet and in the front seats, which are inspired by the Maralunga armchairs designed by Vico Magistretti for Cassina. The two free-standing single armchairs have unique proportions and a unique bold chromatic figure.
The pure geometric forms are further expressed in the new round tables, in the centre console and even in the dashboard, which subverts the automotive approach and is based on an iconic single piece of round glass, crossed by clear cuts. At the same time, use of iconic and simple shapes avoid the typical automotive language.
Preview of S.A.L.A. interface
The Pu+Ra HPE previews the S.A.L.A. (Sound Air Light Augmentation) virtual interface that will be in the new Ypsilon. S.A.L.A. is a minimal and smart virtual interface, bringing together the audio, climate control and lighting functions. The driver and passengers can therefore adjust the car’s interior environment simply by tapping a button, or even with the sound of their voices.
And thanks to S.A.L.A, Lancia will be the first Stellantis brand to adopt Chameleon and TAPE (Tailored Predictive Experience) technologies, which centralize the audio, climate control and lighting functions, enabling the environment inside the car to be adapted at the touch of a button or by the voice command.
Moving towards full electrification
In line with Stellantis electrification strategy, Lancia will launch the new Ypsilon with both hybrid and battery-electric powertrains. From 2026, only 100% electric cars will be launched and, from 2028, concurrently with the arrival of the new Delta, the brand will sell only fully electric models.
The technical details are not provided but the targets are a range of over 700 kms, charging time of just over 10 minutes and energy consumption below 10 kWh per 100 kms.