Renault Eolab Concept aims for 235 mpg
A precursor of an ultra-efficient design approach affecting products in the years to come, the Renault Eolab Concept matches a slick exterior, ultra-light construction materials and the firm's super-efficient Z.E. Hybrid technology to deliver an amazing 235 mpg. It was developed to demonstrate what it will take to meet the French government's New Industrial Plan that calls for automakers to produce vehicles by 2020 that can return at least half of that figure - the bogey of those ever-more-frequently touted Euro-spec "2-liter/100-kilometer" cars. Embodying no fewer than 100 technological advances destined to appear in future Renaults, the Eolab offers a vision of what to expect as we move deeper into the 21st Century.
Built around a B-segment platform, the subcompact Eolab's purposefully contoured exterior makes a strong visual and aerodynamic statement. Contributing to its stellar 0.235 coefficient of drag are touches like an active front spoiler and rear fender flaps, articulated wheel-spoke shields, a functional rear hatch spoiler, wider front track dimension, ultra-narrow (145mm) low-rolling-resistance tires and an adaptive suspension. Complementing super-high-strength structural steel with numerous low-mass materials including aluminum, magnesium, advanced thermoplastics and various composites, the 4-passenger Eolab tips the scales at a scant 2,105 pounds.
The Renault Eolab Concept is fitted with the Z.E. Hybrid system that pairs a 75-horsepower/1.0-liter/3-cylinder gasoline engine with a 67-horse electric motor fed by a 6.7kWh lithium ion battery pack. The motor, which also serves as an on-the-fly generator under coasting/braking, is integrated into the Eolab's innovative 3-speed automatic transmission, a unit Renault says is both smaller and lighter than CVTs found in most of today's hybrids. This futuristic front-drive 3-door can travel up to 37 miles in pure Zero Emissions mode at cruise at speeds up to 75 mph. How much of the Eolab Concept makes it into large-scale production and when remains to be seen.
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