The Citroen Taranis is a two-seat off-road racer concept which was developed by Pete Norris. Power comes from four electric motors, one housed within each wheel hub. This layout is similar to one of Norris’s previous concepts, the Honda Chopper. By placing the heavy motors within the wheels, instead of the raised body, the center of gravity is moved lower down – which would improve stability and handling.
When I first saw the name ‘Taranis’ I thought it must have something to do with the fact the raised stance of the vehicles and the long ‘legs’ make it look a little like a mechanised tarantula. But according to Norris that’s not the case. The name is actually taken from the Celtic god of thunder, or as he’s sometimes referred to, the Wheel-God. Apparently he was often depicted with a thunderbolt in one hand and a wheel in the other. The perfect deity for electric cars don’t you think?
With its large outboard, double-jointed wheel setup, the Citroen Taranis has a massive footprint and an intimidating presence. It probably wouldn’t cut it as a jagged rock-crawler because there’s too many easily damaged panels surrounding the wheels. And unless those in-wheel electric motors are sealed in tighter than a fat man in a thin man’s wetsuit, then fording rivers might also pose a problem. But as a off-road dune racer, where there are long undulating uneven surfaces, then the long travel suspension of the Taranis would be in its element.
Norris has designed the Taranis with double-jointed front swingarms which would greatly reduce the turning circle.
The interior of the Citroen Taranis matches the exterior in that it is incredibly futuristic. The driver is met with something that looks more like an aircraft yoke than a steering wheel, and a neat digital dash provides all the essential information.
Three adjectives sum up the Taranis quite succinctly; crazy, scary, cool.