Citroën will be unveiling the C4 Cactus AIRFLOW 2L concept at the Paris Motor Show next month. Based on the production C4 Cactus, and described by the French carmaker as a “laboratory for new ideas”, the design study claims to deliver fuel consumption of over 141 mpg.
In a snapshot, the high fuel economy has been achieved through using aerodynamic design features, lighter parts to reduce overall vehicle weight, and ‘Hybrid Air’ technology to cut fuel consumption.
The project was initially undertaken as part of the “2l/100 km vehicle” programme set up by the French government, which effectively lays out a challenge to car manufacturers to put a vehicle capable of returning 141 mpg into production by 2020.
Compared to the road-going C4 Cactus, some styling features have been modified and others created in order to improve vehicle aerodynamics. Some of the key adaptations include a new front bumper featuring three air intakes, mobile side deflectors to guide air flow around the car, and wheels with mobile shutters activated and controlled by centrifugal force.
Citroën claims the changes have reduced vehicle drag for an overall improvement of 20% in terms of aerodynamic performance compared with the production model.
The concept car is also lighter than the production C4 Cactus. While the latter is already 200 kg lighter than the C4 hatchback, the AIRFLOW 2L manages to shave off a further 100 kg. This means Citroën’s designers have reduced the weight of the concept by 11% compared with the production vehicle.
To achieve this, the designers have reduced the weight of key structural components, with the body sub-structure featuring new materials such as aluminium for the upper cowl panel, inner side members and rear floor pan; high-yield steels for the front side rails and heel board; and composite materials for the front of the vehicle floor.
While the C4 Cactus is powered by the brand’s latest-generation Euro 6 engines, the concept adopts the brand’s Hybrid Air drivetrain instead.
Presented by the PSA Peugeot Citroën Group in January 2013, and featured on a Citroën C3 at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, the system includes a 3-cylinder PureTech petrol engine, a hydraulic pump and compressed air storage unit mounted at the rear, and an automatic transmission with an epicyclic gear train.
Citroën claims combining the PureTech 82 engine with Hybrid Air technology has reduced fuel consumption by 30%.