Renault has revealed its new Eolab concept car, a petrol-electric hybrid which is claimed to average 282mpg and emit just 22/gkm of CO2.
The model, which made its public debut at the Paris motor show, acts as a preview to a new production B-segment model which will appear "within 10 years", according to Renault. 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, its 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 weighs 955kg, about 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 bonnet that is fixed and therefore lighter because it doesn't need any latching mechanism, a thinner windscreen and a magnesium roof that weighs 4.5kg.
Powering the concept is a hybrid power unit that comprises a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder SCe petrol engine, producing 74bhp and 70lb ft, and an electric motor, which is claimed to produce 54bhp 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.