DS Automobiles is leading the electrification charge for Stellantis in Europe. Nearly every single vehicle it sells either has a plug-in hybrid or a battery-electric variant. From 2024 onward, every new DS model being introduced will have an electric variant. The DS E-Tense Performance is the next evolution of a concept car of the same name that debuted in 2016.
This latest interaction borrows race car technology and features a carbon fiber monocoque lifted straight out of vehicles competing in Formula E. The DS E-Tense also gets new headlights that frame the front fascia and a restyled rear with matrix pattern taillights. In total, the front lighting elements consist of over 800 individual LEDs. Its silhouette appears to have carried over unchanged, retaining its midship layout. The wheels appear to be more aero-optimized and have a red center cap with the DS logo embedded in it.
Powering the DS E-Tense Performance are two electric motors making a combined 815 hp. The powertrain also has a regeneration capacity of up to 600 kW. It retains a mechanical braking system as an added safety layer. For the majority of stopping needs, the vehicle uses regenerative braking. DS houses the battery within a carbon-aluminum composite envelope developed by DS Performance. The pack is then mounted in a rear midship configuration for optimum front/rear weight distribution. DS also codeveloped the battery with TotalEnergies and its subsidiary, Saft, and features a bespoke Quartz EV Fluid Solution, battery chemistry, and an immersive cell cooling system. The unique battery composition is what allows that vehicle to accelerate and regenerate at rates of up to 600 kW.
DS says that the E-Tense Performance previews what the brand’s future powertrain and design language could be. The exterior, for instance, is a study in how to make a vehicle as aerodynamic as possible. Three-dimensional DSlogos give the car a distinct identity especially when paired with its unique welcome sequence. The 21-inch alloy wheels also contribute to the E-Tense Performance’s wind-cheating capabilities.
The E-Tense Performance will serve as a rolling test bed for DS. It will be operated by the DS Performance team. Formula E champions Jean-Éric Vergne and Antonio Felix da Costa will be piloting the prototype vehicle to finalize its development. Once that’s done, the E-Tense Performance will commence testing on tracks and public roads. DS will reveal the final performance numbers once evaluations have been finished.
DS’ first electric vehicle will be the DS 4, a subcompact hatchback. The company has also committed to Formula E after winning two consecutive teams and drivers’ championships. In 2020, DS led the way in low emissions thanks to it offering a broad range of powertrains. The number of electrified DS vehicles being registered was also up to 30 percent that same year. For its future EVs, DS will use the STLA Medium platform, which is good for up to 400 miles per charge on the WLTP cycle.
Expect the DS E-Tense Performance to serve as a platform for continuous development. Although it’s not going to make it into production, the technologies will make it to future models. In addition to DS, Peugeot and Fiat will lead the move to electrified vehicles in Europe. Dodge, Ram, Chrysler, and Jeep will lead the transition in the U.S.