Renault Eolab ConceptWed, 17 Sep 2014 00:00:00 -0700
Renault has bucked the trend of rather uninspiring Paris Motor Show previews with the Eolab. This B-segment-sized car that has been designed to a brief that states it must return fuel economy of 2l/100km (118mpg US/141mpg UK), and that all of its major technical innovations must be production-feasible by the year 2020.
The Eolab is actually two cars – the Eolab prototype, which the engineering team has signed off as capable of 1l/100km (235mpg US/282mpg UK), and the Eolab Concept, which was overseen by the design team.
The latter is understandably better resolved visually, most notably in the detailing of the LED headlights that spread across the nose, and the buttress-style A-pillars that run down into the fenders, forming the leading edge of the door shut.
The name Eolab is a blend of 'Aeolous,' the Greek god of winds, and 'Laboratory', rather than an unfortunate anagram of ebola, and highlights the impact that aerodynamic efficiency has had on the design in order to achieve the economy target.
The carbon-alloy rims – 19-inch on the Concept, 17-inch on the prototype – have shutters built into each spoke, while the car features variable ride heights and an active front spoiler that helps control air flow around the car.
At speeds of 70kmh (43mph) or above, spats extend behind the rear wheel, cleaning the air flow as it disconnects from the car and reducing the drag coefficient to 0.235, or 30 percent less than the equivalent current Renault Clio.
The colorway reflects the emphasis on aero too, with fluoro orange highlights on the aero bodywork contrasting with the liquid metal gray. That color theme and geometric pattern of the car's nose is echoed in the cabin.
To reduce weight, there are two doors on the passenger side, and a single driver's door, while the four seats are 30 percent more compact and 40 percent lighter than today's Clio. An aluminium bar crosses the dash, referencing the use of lighter materials - Renault claims the Eolab is 400kg lighter than an equivalent Clio - while the car's 11-inch touchscreen includes a cloud-themed display designed to encourage economical driving, rather than just providing a readout of current mpg as today.
Although this car could quite easily have come from Renault's alliance partner Nissan - its similarity to the Resonance concept in particular is notable - the Eolab is certainly worthy of a more thorough exploration in Paris.
Full Renault Eolab gallery >