Design boss confirms "experimental" super-frugal concept car, which will rival Peugeot's 2008 Hybrid Air, for October show
28 August 2014

Renault will present a new “experimental engineering” concept car at the Paris motor show in October, Autocar has learned.

Speaking at the Moscow motor show, Renault design boss Laurens van den Acker confirmed the new concept is Renault’s answer to a challenge set by the French government, to put a car capable of returning 141mpg into production by 2020.

“We’ve come up with a really interesting concept,” he said.

Van den Acker also confirmed the new car won’t be a modified version of an existing Renault product, saying: “It doesn’t have an existing platform, because the existing platform would be too heavy. To be able to get to these numbers you need a dramatic weight reduction and a dramatic aerodynamic improvement.” 

The design chief wouldn’t be drawn on what form the new concept will take, only saying there would be a mixture of traditional hatchback, sports car and crossover styling traits: “I think there’s a little of all of those in there,” he said.

Renault isn’t the first French firm to answer the challenge. Earlier this year Autocar drove the near production-ready version of Peugeot’s 2008 Hybrid Air concept, which is powered by a 1.2-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine with 81bhp in conjunction with a pair of hydraulic pumps, meaning total power is rated at 112bhp. 

In total, Peugeot's car is capable of returning an estimated 106mpg – impressive, but still short of the French government’s 141mpg target.

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29 August 2014
Relatively easy to achieve this goal with a million pound prototype that doesn't have to work reliably, meet legislation or show a profit. But I fear that there's not much chance of a production model appearing any time soon. I think Reault's approach of building something very light and slippery is a good one though, especially if it can be kept simple too.

29 August 2014
Renault/Nissan's early and forceful foray into electric cars caught me by surprise. I am all for the development of alternative fuels but I can't help thinking that hybrid technology is a more feasible powertrain for the time being and has a far wider appeal than pure electric cars.

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