Dacia Manifesto Off-Road Concept Has Scaled Down GMC Hummer EV Vibes
While Dacia is a brand you’re probably only familiar with thanks to the antics of James May on the original British “Top Gear,” it’s probably a brand you won’t otherwise hear about in the U.S. Even so, when this Romanian brand presented what essentially looks like a scaled down GMC Hummer EV two-seater with a little bit of Lunar Rover mixed in, you can’t help but take notice. The Dacia Manifesto is billed as the “Living Lab of Dacia” and ready to tackle any terrain while demonstrating potential new technologies for future production cars.
Much like Volkswagen, Dacia was started to create a “people’s car” in Romania in the 1960s. Unlike Volkswagen, Dacia licensed another design—the Renault 8—to create the Dacia 1100. Today, Dacia is a subsidiary of Renault, but has remained a rather pedestrian brand with the likes of “Top Gear” host James May’s formerly “beloved” Sandero and the Duster crossover. That’s why the Manifesto is rather wild to see from Dacia, as it looks nothing like the everyday people movers that the Romanian brand is better known for. In fact, it doesn’t look like a vehicle that’s made for just traversing this planet. The idea is, like most concepts, to present some new technologies, materials, and ideas that Dacia (and probably Renault) will want to use in future vehicles that go into production.
We seriously dig this pure concept, which used some really out-there ideas like airless tires, recycled plastic body panels called “Starkle,” cork-board dash material (so you could pin maps and notes directly to the car), a fabric frunk cargo cover, integrated winch, and a completely lack of doors or windows. Arguably the most interesting aspect are the seats, as they look like something straight off of a NASA moon buggy. The seat padding is attached with webbed straps and quick-release buckles, and can be unclipped to use as sleeping bags, or removed to hose off the inside when it gets dirty and muddy.
To keep your cargo secure, Dacia also debuted its new “YouClip” system that looks like pegboard panels that use bungee cords to strap stuff to the sides, roof and interior. Dacia says that YouClip will be a feature built into future models going forward. Another potential feature we may see on future Dacias is the “Bring-Your-Own-Device” system that uses your smartphone as your infotainment screen and integrates with the Manifestos on-board computer system—something a few automakers have tried, like Smart with its Cross Connect infotainment system.
Another interesting thing is the use of single lights, one on the front end and one that sits between the headrests of the seats. According to Dacia, the Manifesto uses only a single light source and is made of many LEDs and sits on the front end, just below the front lighting feature that’s becoming common on all EVs. It can even be detached to be used as a flashlight. Because Dacia envisioned the Manifesto to be the ultimate outdoor machine, it also has a 2.25 kWh battery that is detachable to be used to power anything that uses a household outlet.
This concept is refreshing—a buggy concept that would look at home in Glamis, or even on the moon, and could work on either surface thanks to being an electrically powered vehicle. You’d just need to provide your own environmental suit that would fit in the Manifesto’s interior. We hope the Manifesto sees production, somehow, even just as a large EV UTV and using conventional tires. The manifesto looks like too much fun to let it wind up as a mere concept.