The fascinating story of the CvO-H01, this modular French electric car opened by EcoGreen Gas

Christian van Oost et son roadster électrique CvO-H01

With the first issue scheduled for May 18 and 19, 2022, EcoGreen Gas follows the Shell Eco-Marathon and EducEco challenge, organized to achieve sobriety records. At the racing circuit in Fay-de-Bretagne (44), the start signal was preceded by an official bike on an entertaining electric machine: CvO-H01. Her designer Christian van Oost introduces her to us.


If the public is able to delay the presentation of original prototypes at various international car shows for a few years, the designers, engineers and other managers who follow these projects often remain unknown. Their names sometimes appear a few years later, due to a change of orientation or the development of new concepts within the personal company.

This is the story of Christian van Oost, an engineer and designer. ” From 1987 to 1997 I was in the Renault Design team, I worked in the Swedish Volvo Gothenburg for a little over 2 years. There I worked on the concept of a bus introduced in 1995 and the S80 project “He’s launching our partner.”

Renault Racoon concept

At Renault Design, I applied my art to Racoon. This 4 × 4 amphibious car was unveiled in 1992 at the Geneva Motor Show. I also collaborated on the development of the Scenic concept car “, he continues.

Richard Berry and Patrick Timsit film

After 2 years in Valeo, where he was involved in the design of equipment for the Audi Al2, Renault Vel Satis and Pininfarina Dardo, among others, Christian van Oost was Vice President of Design Performance in a team of 45 people. ” It was between 1999 and 2002. I was in contact with the builders. For example, we have created the E-Doll and Cameleo concepts for Peugeot. The latter was a pickup based on the 307 station wagon He comments.

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Our contact also worked on the creation of logos and visual identities. Undoubtedly the most entertaining and exciting of his adventures is his participation in Richard Berry’s 1999 film. In Delicate Art of Seduction, Patrick Timsit plays the role of a car designer with a passion for cathedrals.

In this story, Patrick Timsit does my job. I advised Richard Berry during the filming. I spent the whole Saturday afternoon with him. My team and I designed and built the Arca prototype we see in the movie in 3 weeks. The flying pillows of Notre-Dame de Paris inspired me to create vehicle lines “, Adds our respondent.

The legacy of Michel Vaillant

When I finished working with Design Performance, I thought of Michel Vaillant. I wanted to do like him: build and drive cars. I worked on new concepts through my company CvOracing. Especially for the Gentlemen Drivers of the V2V Endurance Championship recalls Christian van Oost.

Electric single CvO-R01

The pilots at that time rode a sport-proto. So SR3 British manufacturer Radical. It was presented as an Oui-Oui car equipped with a motorcycle engine. Some participants dreamed of Le Mans at 24 hours. They wanted a nice race car. So I designed CvO-R01 and CV0-R02 adapted to their piloting. I gave a copy to one of Dessange’s sons “, explains.

As the rules in the competition change very quickly, this activity has not been viable for my company in the long run He laments

electric roadster

Christian van Oost is still very active today. It has split since 2007. On the one hand, as the head of the new mobility program at the Nantes Atlantique design school. On the other hand, within its new structure CvOdesign.

First opened in Nantes, my design office is now in Saint-Nazaire. I have 600 m2 of space in the city center. This allows me to offer a wide range of services for companies. It ranges from tools for the automotive industry to fire trucks “He specifies.

CvO-H01 electric roadster

We come to the electric roadster CvO-H01 made to order. Each copy is unique. Performance depends on use. Homologation of the ATV for road use is possible. Designed as a competition vehicle with very reliable parts, some of which come from aviation, and the original Formula Renault rack and pinion, it is based on a high-performance chassis.

Made of solid aluminum, the frame is perforated for relief. That is why the car weighs only 180 kg with a LiFePO4 battery with an energy capacity of 4 kWh “, Emphasizes our partner.

Big potential

CvO-H01 has been designed for a variety of applications. This is already the case for driving courses for people with reduced mobility. As part of a structure such as Handisport Auto. But also by thinking of nomadic operations as a criterion for young drivers reveals Christian van Oost.

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The CvO-H01 can also be driven by adults, either using the accelerator and brake pedals or using the joystick-style joystick on the dashboard. To accelerate, you must pull on it and push to brake. The transfer of charge accompanies the movement. It’s easier for people who don’t have much strength, such as children in particular “, explains.

CvO-H01 electric roadster

I wanted to be inclusive and allow as many people as possible to drive this vehicle without distinction. That’s why a lot of work on ergonomics. The shape of the body resembles pre-war racing cars. The side rails represent the large exhaust pipes of the time. However, they are very useful for people with reduced mobility. It forms an access threshold for wheelchair users “, Describes the details.

Board computer for various uses

Acceleration, torque, maximum speed, engine braking: everything can be configured according to user profiles. For 6-year-old children, the acceleration is very slow, the engine develops a small torque, the engine brake is instantaneous and the maximum speed is 10 to 15 km / h. », Illustrated by Christian van Oost.

CvO-H01 electric roadster

When the speed is limited to 25 km / h, the range is around 250 km. CvO-H01 can travel at speeds of up to 80 km / h. In this case, the radius of action is divided by 3. This developing vehicle is unique thanks to the interchangeable front / rear elements, as in the case of the Citroën Ami “, He compares.

I’m thinking of other body presentations for the following copies. Inspired by, for example, Ferrari, sports prototypes or neo-retro looks. On this basis, I can really offer 100% personalized “, He rejoices.

Duch La Chapelle?

Those who are interested in automotive production on the fringes of large manufacturers, know especially the work of La Chapelle. For example, the company reproduced the Bugatti Type 55 in its original format, but also in 6/10.

Without reference to a specific model, CvO-H01 plays a bit on the same pitch. It could get more or less important body size. It can be used by both children and adults, for both entertainment and educational purposes. Which is worth it.

Christian van Oost and his electric roadster CvO-H01

About 25,000 euros. CvO-H01 is built 2 months after order. Chassis assembly takes 2 weeks. The seats are leather, made by a renowned saddler. To reduce the price to 15,000 euros, it is possible to supply a less powerful version », Emphasizes Christian van Oost.

We can take care of the financing. For example, with a LOA of 500 euros per month. But also in B2B rental for events or training “Concludes our partner.

Automobile Propre and I would like to thank Christian van Oost very much for his spontaneity, availability and testimony.

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