Turin, Italy - This is Sybilla, the latest concept from iconic designer Giorgetto Giugiaro and his son Fabrizio, who went out on their own in 2015 and formed GFG Style (Giorgetto and Fabrizio Giugiaro - get it?) after they sold their remaining stake in the Italdesign studio, founded in 1968 by Giugiaro Sr, to the Volkswagen Group’s Audi division.
The name is a reference both to Giorgetto Giugiaro’s mother, Maria Sibilla, and the ancient Greek oracles who foretold the future - which, after all is what concept cars are supposed to do.
This one has an (inboard) electric motor for each wheel, providing the simplest possible form of all-wheel drive and obviating the need for a propshaft tunnel. No details are given of power and capacity.
Its styling, they say, was inspired by the unashamedly sexy low-slung concept cars of the 1960s and 70s, with a 21-century twist in the swooping roofline and LED lighting. It has no conventional doors; the rear seats are accessed by gullwing doors and the front seats by sliding a dramatic one-piece glass canopy forward - an idea borrowed from the Chevrolet Corvair Testudo concept designed by Giugiaro for the 1963 Geneva Motor Show, when he was only 24 and still working for Bertone.
That concept still exists - and will be on the GFG stand alongside the Sybilla at the Palexpo in 2018.
The Sybilla is a big car, at more than five metres long and 1.48 metres tall, with enough cabin space for four individually reclining seats as well as extra storage space behind the rear seats. The top section of the canopy and the glass roof of the rear passenger section are automatically dimmed in direct sunshine to avoid cooking the occupants in direct sunshine.
The flight deck is built around an “aviation inspired” (GFG’s words, not ours) steering wheel with touchpad controls, multiple infotainment screens in the dashboard, and, for the rear passengers, extra storage space behind the rear seats.
The concept is the result of a partnership with Shanghai-based energy company Envision, whose EnOS internet of things platform is claimed to be the world’s biggest. In their joint media release Envision and GFG Style say the Sybilla is more than just an electric car, it’s ‘breakthrough in embedding the car into a larger energy system’.
There’s not a lot of detail, but the general idea is that the internet of things would not only tell the car when and where to source the most efficient charging (or cheapest, if time is no object) but also when it’s most efficient to use it for powering your home (i.e. peak demand periods) or when the grid needs its help.