Automotive

Renault reveals 235-mpg EOLAB Concept

Renault reveals 235-mpg EOLAB ...
Renault says its all-new EOLAB concept boasts fuel efficiency of 1 L/100km (235 mpg)
Renault says its all-new EOLAB concept boasts fuel efficiency of 1 L/100km (235 mpg)
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Renault will introduce the EOLAB at the 2014 Paris Motor Show
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Renault will introduce the EOLAB at the 2014 Paris Motor Show
Renault's EOLAB uses new weight savings, aerodynamics and powertrain strategies
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Renault's EOLAB uses new weight savings, aerodynamics and powertrain strategies
The EOLAB concept is capable of 1 L/100 km (235 mpg), according to Renault
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The EOLAB concept is capable of 1 L/100 km (235 mpg), according to Renault
One of the first strategies that becomes noticeable is the asymmetrical three-door layout
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One of the first strategies that becomes noticeable is the asymmetrical three-door layout
The EOLAB has active aerodynamic panels integrated into its rear bumper
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The EOLAB has active aerodynamic panels integrated into its rear bumper
A peek inside the EOLAB
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A peek inside the EOLAB
A peek inside the EOLAB
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A peek inside the EOLAB
EOLAB sketches
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EOLAB sketches
Renault uses lightweight materials like aluminum, composites and magnesium in building the EOLAB
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Renault uses lightweight materials like aluminum, composites and magnesium in building the EOLAB
Renault claims the 10-lb magnesium roof weighs less than half the average steel roof
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Renault claims the 10-lb magnesium roof weighs less than half the average steel roof
Renault uses lightweight materials like aluminum, composites and magnesium in building the EOLAB
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Renault uses lightweight materials like aluminum, composites and magnesium in building the EOLAB
EOLAB design
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EOLAB design
EOLAB design
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EOLAB design
The Renault EOLAB features a raft of technologies that will be integrated into its stable of vehicles
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The Renault EOLAB features a raft of technologies that will be integrated into its stable of vehicles
EOLAB sketch
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EOLAB sketch
EOLAB sketch
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EOLAB sketch
Renault reveals its EOLAB project
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Renault reveals its EOLAB project
An in-depth look at fuel economy
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An in-depth look at fuel economy
Renault's tablet display shows a detailed breakdown of factors affecting the EOLAB's current consumption
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Renault's tablet display shows a detailed breakdown of factors affecting the EOLAB's current consumption
Calendar information on the side of the 11-in central display
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Calendar information on the side of the 11-in central display
Contact information on the side of the 11-in central display
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Contact information on the side of the 11-in central display
The HMI system develops real-time pointers for more efficient driving
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The HMI system develops real-time pointers for more efficient driving
HMI tips and reminders
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HMI tips and reminders
HMI tips and reminders
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HMI tips and reminders
HMI tips and reminders
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HMI tips and reminders
A look inside the Renault EOLAB
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A look inside the Renault EOLAB
A look at the Z.E. hybrid powertrain
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A look at the Z.E. hybrid powertrain
The EOLAB has two smartphone-sized displays on the height-adjustable instrument panel, one tablet-sized display in the center and rear-view displays in place of mirrors
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The EOLAB has two smartphone-sized displays on the height-adjustable instrument panel, one tablet-sized display in the center and rear-view displays in place of mirrors
The left instrument panel display shows speed and other traditional readouts
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The left instrument panel display shows speed and other traditional readouts
The left instrument panel display shows speed and other traditional readouts
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The left instrument panel display shows speed and other traditional readouts
The right display shows navigation information
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The right display shows navigation information
The right display shows navigation information
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The right display shows navigation information
The 11-in tablet display can be oriented vertically or horizontally
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The 11-in tablet display can be oriented vertically or horizontally
Diagram of weight-optimized structural elements and trim
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Diagram of weight-optimized structural elements and trim
Chassis weight optimization
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Chassis weight optimization
The multi-material body shell is a primary weight-savings feature of the EOLAB design
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The multi-material body shell is a primary weight-savings feature of the EOLAB design
Renault plans to get an EOLAB-based B-segment car to market within 10 years
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Renault plans to get an EOLAB-based B-segment car to market within 10 years
Renault EOLAB
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Renault EOLAB
The EOLAB has weight-saving, ultra-thin windshield glass
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The EOLAB has weight-saving, ultra-thin windshield glass
The wheels open when the brakes need cooling
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The wheels open when the brakes need cooling
The active wheel panels close to increase aerodynamic performance
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The active wheel panels close to increase aerodynamic performance
Diagram of aerodynamic improvements
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Diagram of aerodynamic improvements
All the weight optimization results in the loss of 882 lb and a weight of 2,105 lb (955 kg)
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All the weight optimization results in the loss of 882 lb and a weight of 2,105 lb (955 kg)
Renault's concept of a virtuous circle
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Renault's concept of a virtuous circle
The Renault EOLAB waits for its world premiere on October 2
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The Renault EOLAB waits for its world premiere on October 2
The Renault EOLAB
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The Renault EOLAB
The Renault EOLAB
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The Renault EOLAB
Renault 's EOLAB is a hybrid 1L/100km concept car
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Renault 's EOLAB is a hybrid 1L/100km concept car
The Renault EOLAB
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The Renault EOLAB
The Renault EOLAB
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The Renault EOLAB
A "tech" and a "style" version of the EOLAB will appear side by side in Paris
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A "tech" and a "style" version of the EOLAB will appear side by side in Paris
The EOLAB is powered by a plug-in hybrid drive with 75-hp engine
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The EOLAB is powered by a plug-in hybrid drive with 75-hp engine
Renault says its all-new EOLAB concept boasts fuel efficiency of 1 L/100km (235 mpg)
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Renault says its all-new EOLAB concept boasts fuel efficiency of 1 L/100km (235 mpg)
Inside the EOLAB
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Inside the EOLAB
Renault's redesigned seats save weight and increase rear legroom
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Renault's redesigned seats save weight and increase rear legroom
The central tablet display
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The central tablet display
The Renault EOLAB
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The Renault EOLAB
The Renault EOLAB
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The Renault EOLAB
The Renault EOLAB
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The Renault EOLAB

A few days after Peugeot weighed in with its latest eco-friendly hybrid concept, French countrymate Renault followed suit. Its all-new EOLAB Concept slashes fuel consumption in half when compared to the already efficient Peugeot 208 Hybrid 2L, requiring just 1 liter for 100 km of driving (235 mpg) while puffing out just 22 g/km of CO2 (NEDC cycle).

While Volkswagen resorted to some pretty extreme design measures to create its 1-liter XL1, Renault has managed to reach 1L/100km with a car that doesn't look much different than the typical small hatchback. Of course, the EOLAB is just a concept car, not a production model.

Renault says the new B-segment compact uses nearly 100 technological design solutions to deliver its staggering fuel economy. Those innovations are split into three familiar categories: weight minimization, aerodynamic enhancement and powertrain economization.

EOLAB sketch
EOLAB sketch

Renault doesn't just add a few aluminum and carbon fiber parts when cutting weight; it reworks every major aspect of the car, beginning with the layout. The car's asymmetrical three-door design puts a single door on the driver side and two on the passenger side. Inside, the optimized seating set-up saves 12 kg (26.5 lb) and 30 mm (1.2 in) of overall vehicle length.

Renault's weight-savings program cuts some 400 kg (882 lb) of bulk when compared to the similarly sized Clio. A large chunk of the weight reduction comes from a multi-material construction consisting of a steel, aluminum and thermoplastic body and 4.5-kg (10-lb) magnesium roof. Renault says the roof weighs just under half of what an equivalent steel roof would weigh. Tempered window glass is dropped in favor of laminated glass and polymers, and the car features patented ultralight intake ducts made from expanded polypropylene.

The multi-material body shell is a primary weight-savings feature of the EOLAB design
The multi-material body shell is a primary weight-savings feature of the EOLAB design

The strategic material substitution continues inside. Renault plants slim, lightweight seats atop frames built from steel, non-ferrous alloys, carbon fiber and magnesium. Even small, seemingly insignificant parts like plastic trim pieces are reworked for weight savings, with Renault replacing the solid plastic with thin, foam-injected material, cutting weight by around 25 percent.

"You can always save weight if you’re prepared to pay the price, but that would be contrary to Renault’s philosophy," explains Laurent Taupin, EOLAB project leader. "Our strategy is to reduce weight in a way that benefits everybody. That means finding economically viable solutions that our customers can afford. Our approach can be summed up by the phrase: 'the right material for a given job.'"

From there, Renault's design benefits from what the company calls the "virtuous circle of shedding weight." The significant weight savings around the EOLAB's exterior and interior mean less mass to push forward and control, allowing for smaller hardware in the powertrain and running gear.

The "Z.E." hybrid drive combines a 75-hp one-liter three-cylinder gas engine with a compact 40-kW motor wired to a 6.7-kWh lithium-ion battery. The gas engine is linked to the third gear ratio of the clutch-less three-speed transmission, while the electric motor is mated to the first and second ratios.

In cranking fuel economy potential up to the impressive 1 L/100km (235-mpg) figure, the EOLAB can travel up to 60 km (37 mi) at speeds up to 120 km/h (74 mph) on electric power alone. Two driving modes help the driver balance electric and engine power. Weekday mode favors electric driving, providing all-electric first-gear driving at speeds up to 65 km/h (40 mph) and kicking up to all-electric second gear for speeds up to 120 km/h (74 mph). Beyond those speeds, the system activates the gas engine. Weekend mode switches the engine into action at lower speeds and balances electric and gas output toward efficient, long-distance driving.

A look at the Z.E. hybrid powertrain
A look at the Z.E. hybrid powertrain

Renault also lightens other hardware, including the brakes and steering. The concept uses the Continental MK C1, a vacuum-less braking system that is several kilograms lighter than conventional brakes. The design combines the brake actuation, brake booster and control systems (ABS, ESC) into a compact, single-piece unit that Renault says is well-suited to driver assistance and brake regeneration functions.

In terms of aerodynamics, Renault narrows the rear track, drops the roofline, optimizes the design of the rear body panels and adds active aero systems. The active aerodynamics package begins with the car's ride height. When the car is parked, the active air suspension system is at its highest setting to accommodate entry. Between 5 and 70 km/h (3 and 43 mph), it lowers by 25 mm (1 in), lowering another 25 mm at speeds over 70 km/h.

The narrow 145/45R17 Michelin tire-wrapped wheels also include active aerodynamics. When the brakes are cool, the system activates smooth wheel facings to improve aerodynamic performance. When the temperature sensor reaches a certain level, the wheels open to promote brake cooling.

The active aerodynamics package finishes off with a active spoiler that drops down at speeds above 70 km/h and rear bumper panels that open at that same speed threshold, keeping air wrapped around the car. The aerodynamic improvements result in a 30 percent drag reduction that Renault claims doesn't involve any accompanying passenger cramping issues.

The EOLAB has two smartphone-sized displays on the height-adjustable instrument panel, one tablet-sized display in the center and rear-view displays in place of mirrors
The EOLAB has two smartphone-sized displays on the height-adjustable instrument panel, one tablet-sized display in the center and rear-view displays in place of mirrors

With all that's going on around the car, the driver has a lot to keep track of, if he or she wants to remain fully informed. For that, Renault has designed a special Human Machine Interface built around a centrally-mounted tablet-style display and dual-display, height-adjustable instrument panel. The right instrument display is dedicated to GPS, while the left offers traditional information like speed and engine warnings. The 11-in tablet display can be oriented horizontally or vertically and shows an advanced breakdown of data pertaining to the car's efficiency: driving style, active aerodynamics status, gradient, tire rolling resistance and status of electrical equipment (e.g. climate control systems).

"Today, after a fashion, the majority of the systems available in the market give drivers just raw information (current consumption, average consumption, etc.) that don’t really enable them to make any progress," says Jean-Pierre Fouquet, Z.E. Hybrid Innovations project leader. "Courtesy of this graphic, drivers now have at their disposal the necessary tools to take charge of their own consumption."

Renault says that the EOLAB previews a B-segment car that will materialize in mass production within the next decade. While that gives the automaker plenty of time to switch directions and drop the EOLAB project, it does plan to gradually introduce the weight-savings, aerodynamics and mechanical innovations to existing models over the coming years, helping to improve efficiency across its entire lineup, including the development of a 2L/100km (117 mpg) car by 2020. It identified the EOLAB solutions with that goal in mind, seeking technologies that would be technically and financially viable in the near future.

"Today, most of the market’s hybrid vehicles are higher segment cars with a price tag of more than €40,000 (US$51,700)," says Foquet. "The solutions showcased by EOLAB are much more economical and enable hybrid technology to be used for smaller cars and on a much bigger scale. Our objective is to produce a car with two power sources for the price of one."

A "tech" and a "style" version of the EOLAB will appear side by side in Paris
A "tech" and a "style" version of the EOLAB will appear side by side in Paris

Renault will show two versions of the EOLAB at next month's Paris Motor Show. The rougher prototype version was built by its engineering department, while the more polished EOLAB Concept was developed within its design department.

"A technology demonstrator is rarely attractive, and a concept car is rarely realistic," says Patrick Lecharpy, vice president of Renault's Cooperative Innovation Laboratory. "That’s why we decided to develop two vehicles as part of this project. The aim was for technology and desirability to go hand in hand, to avoid a result that would be high-tech but cold."

Gizmag will be attending the Paris Motor Show and we anticipate spending some time with both EOLAB versions, updating you with more information and photos. In the meantime, you can get a closer look in our photo gallery and the intro video below.

Source: Renault

EOLAB Concept: a concept car to capture the imagination

12 comments
Mark A
YES.
Nairda
Engineer Division: Here is a wonderful design we've come up with, maximizing all the technologies we have available to us to show what can be done if we all work together Boss: Well I certainly like the price. Do you think you can replace all those different materials it is made of with iron and that plastic we use on our existing crap. And replace the engine with a standard 1.6 DOHC and remove the batteries. But keep the shape, because it looks futuristic. Engineer Division: But,.. Boss: Performance review in a month. Choose your next words wisely Engineer Division: Yes sir Marketing Department: We can call this one the Zoomster, because it looks fast Boss: Excellent. Make it so.
BigGoofyGuy
I think that is not only green but also way cool. I wonder how much of that technology will make it into everyday cars. I think it would be cool to have a car that looks great and gets really good MPG.
Buellrider
Concept car gets 235 mpg and is so light it needs to be tethered to keep it from floating away. Production model lauded for getting 42 mpg and cracks cement as it rolls down the highway.
zevulon
for a few thousand dollars or less + a few days of work, and some training----once can modify an old geo metro from 30 years ago, put a couple add ons such as those noted on noteable 'hypermiling websites'. then you spend a few days training how to drive properly for efficiency optimization, and you can get over 75 miles a gallon. the future of fuel efficiency is in onboard computers the either drive the car for you, or modulate the existing manned driver's driving to ensure the car's acceleration and deceleration profile is optimized for fuel efficiency. the key to fuel efficiency is not hard acceleration /deceleratoin and as much 'gliding' as possible --coasting downhills in neutral and even stop starting the vehicles engine to 'pulse' the motors input to the wheels. that takes effort to learn, but a car computer could be optimized to modulate a drivers input to the pedals/breaks and shifters in order to achieve this. in the real world-------------where price is everything-------none of the above accommodations will be innovated or sold. they are useless. in the real world, if you simply raise gas taxes, more efficient cars will be purchased by consumers, and they will also drive less, moving their housing choices to cities, where walking biking public transit and car sharing/renting/pooling are feasible in the u.s. gas taxes aren't going up because the oil companies own the country. electricity prices are going up because the oil companies are scared of electric cars and electric everything. they've convinced the public to try and put coal and nuclear and natural gas out of business by raising electricity prices wholsale. wall street's enron model---buying power companies to shut them down and raise rates-------is now fully legalized and practiced openly by the likes of goldman sachs passing for 'environmentalism'. the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Mindbreaker
Somewhat deceptive to just call this a hybrid when it is a plug-in hybrid. You would only get that efficiency for a short distance. Without a pillar between the doors this would kill a lot of passengers in side impacts. What does it mater though, it is just the wife and kids getting killed. Totally replaceable. :( If safety is eliminated, efficiency can go up, but who wants to drive a death trap? Add enough carbon fiber in the doors and maybe, but it seems more efficient to just have a carbon fiber pillar. What's that, another 5 pounds? I hate that every car company wants to patent every efficiency gaining feature. That effectively limits its adoption. Tesla on the other hand opened up its patents for others to use without charge. Where are the other makers following its lead? I will never believe a company really cares about the environment until they make their efficiency innovations available to other makers. We can't wait another 18 or 20 years for ideas to become available.
Bruce H. Anderson
Interesting tech, and it looks good as well. Bravo Renault.
Taylor Mariee
My personal experience with Renault cars is that they were junk that decomposed and fell apart daily. I would like to be an optimist but frankly i have zero confidence in anything built by Renault.
jingleburp
This is all great but I want to see the actual crash test results.
warren52nz
You'd think that somewhere in an article that focuses almost 100% on weight savings that the actual weight would be listed.