09-16-2014, 11:26 AM
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Renault To Show 282mpg Eolab Concept in Paris Show
by Darren Moss
16 September 2014 4:01pm
Renault has revealed its new Eolab concept car, a petrol-electric hybrid which is reputed to average 282mpg and emit just 22/gkm of CO2.
The model, which will make its public debut at the Paris motor show next month, acts as a preview to a new production B-segment model which will appear "within 10 years"; it also answers a challenge set by the French government to put a car capable of returning 141mpg into production by 2020.
The French manufacturer says that in order to reach its frugal economy target, engineers concentrated on reducing the concept’s weight, refining its aerodynamics and getting the best performance from its petrol-electric powertrain.
The results mean the concept tips the scales at 955kg, some 400kg less than the current Renault Clio. It also comes with a drag coefficient of 0.235, some 30 per cent less than the Clio.
Other weight-saving elements include a new fixed bonnet, a thinner windscreen and a magnesium roof that weighs 4.5kg.
Powering the concept is a Renault Z.E. hybrid power unit that comprises a 1.0-litre, 3-cylinder SCe petrol engine, producing 74bhp and 70lb ft, and an electric motor – which is stated to output 67bhp and 148lb ft.
The permanent magnet electric motor is integrated into the housing of the car's compact three-speed transmission, which sends drive to the front wheels.
The first two speeds of the transmission are used only by the electric motor, with the third gear being driven by the internal combustion engine, and the automated control unit permits a blend of electric or hybrid outputs. Renault says this transmission offers numerous weight and cost-saving benefits compared to usual CVT or dual-clutch options.
A selectable ‘weekend’ mode allows the car to function as a conventional hybrid for greater range, with both power sources working together and the battery being charged via braking and deceleration.
The Eolab will be presented in two forms at the Paris show, one showcasing the car’s technology and the other a design study. Renault says it has used “warm and sensual lines” to mark out the Eolab concept, which sits on 19-inch carbon-aluminium wheels shod in Michelin rubber.
A series of active flaps and a front spoiler also open at speed, directing air flow and cooling the engine if necessary.
Inside, the three-door Eolab concept features four leather seats and a ‘floating’ centre console. An 11-inch touchscreen tablet infotainment system, inspired by Renault’s R-Link, controls most infotainment functions and also provides real-time updates on how efficiently the car is being driven. Lights inside the car also change colour during particularly sporty bouts of driving.
A digital, height-adjustable instrument cluster sits in front of the driver, featuring two smartphone-sized screens which display both technical and navigation information. The car’s side mirrors are replaced by cameras, which feed directly into screens mounted close to the windscreen pillars.
The Eolab contains 100 new technology innovations, says Renault, which will eventually find their way into the firm’s road cars.
Renault Z.E. Hybrid Innovation project leader Jean-Pierre Fouquet says what makes the Eolab concept special is its low cost to produce: “Today, most of the market’s hybrid vehicles are higher segment cars with a price tag of more than €40,000 (around £31,900)
“The solutions showcased by Eolab are much more economical and enable hybrid technology to be used for smaller cars and on a much bigger scale. Our objective is to produce a car with two power sources for the price of one”.
Any production version of the Eolab is likely to rival Peugeot’s Hybrid Air technology if it goes on sale. Peugeot’s 2008 Hybrid Air prototype is capable of returning 106mpg and CO2 emissions of 50g/km, although it is still at least three years away from production.
Peugeot has previously said that to make its Hybrid Air technology viable it would need to partner with another vehicle manufacturer.
Last edited by AVANTI R5; 09-17-2014 at 07:31 AM.