The C4 Cactus Airflow 2L is capable of returning more than 141mpg, says Citroën, and weighs just 865kg – 100kg less than the standard Cactus. The car made its public debut at the Paris motor show.
Power for the concept comes from a Hybrid Air powertrain – of the same type used by the Peugeot 2008 Hybrid Air prototype which Autocar drove earlier this summer. A prototype of the technology was shown on a Citroën C3 concept car at the Geneva motor show last year.
The powertrain comprises a 3-cylinder 1.2-litre Puretech 81bhp petrol engine – already available as part of the Cactus range – plus a hydraulic pump and air storage tank mounted at the rear of the car. An epicyclic transmission is also used.
Aside from the obvious economy advantages of using this hybrid setup, Peugeot says it has also reduced frictional losses inside the 1.2-litre Puretech engine thanks to a new internal coating and by using low-viscosity oil.
Three driving modes can be selected, with two utilising either air or petrol power exclusively, and the third using a combination of the two.
Sitting on new 19-inch low rolling resistance tyres developed by Michelin, the C4 Cactus Airflow 2L concept features lightweight materials including aluminium and steel, while carbonfibre features on the Cactus’ ‘Airbump’ panels.
Standard lighting clusters have been replaced by LED units, while a new lengthened spoiler features alongside a rear-mounted air extractor, plus force-activated shutters on the alloy wheels to reduce air flow.
In terms of performance, Citroën says the Hybrid Air-powered Cactus is close to the Puretech 110-powered model. That means a 0-62mph sprint time of around 9.5 seconds, plus a top speed of close to 120mph.
The concept answers a challenge set by the French government to put a vehicle capable of returning 141mpg into production by 2020.
Other vehicles revealed to answer the challenge include Renault’s Eolab concept – which is claimed to be capable of returning 262mpg – and Peugeot’s 208 Hybrid Air. All three cars have been seen at this week's Paris show.