Peugeot is previewing the second generation of its ‘i-Cockpit’ interior design language with the newly revealed Fractal concept car.
To be officially unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show later on this month, the design study incorporates a centrally-located 30kW/h lithium-ion battery that powers an electric motor fixed onto each axle to provide a total output of 201 bhp and a claimed range of up to 280 miles.
Measuring 3.81 m long and 1.77 m wide, the car also gets variable ground clearance that allows the vehicle to adapt to different types of terrain. A 7 cm clearance for motorway driving is said to improve aerodynamics and range, as well as boosting battery life. This can be increased to 11 cm for urban environments, allowing the car to manage speed humps and car park entrances.
Peugeot says the compact EV has an exterior and interior identity whose design has been developed in partnership with Brazilian sound designer Amon Tobin. With the further help of Peugeot’s Science Technologies Exploratory Lean Laboratory (StelLab), the designers have also utilised 3D printing on both the outside and inside to improve “acoustic performance” in a way that is “unprecedented in automotive design”.
The 19-inch wheels, for example, feature dihedral components to attenuate aerodynamic noise. Based on anechoic chambers, these additions are claimed to reduce the intensity of sound waves, and therefore their noise levels, by causing them to bounce from one surface to another. This type of design is almost impossible to produce using conventional methods and was therefore achieved through 3D printing.
On the inside, 3D-printed parts represent more than 80% of the interior trim surface. “The anechoic materials were made through generative design – an incremental, stochastic process used to achieve the perfect component,” explain the designers. “The anechoic surfaces cover more than 15 square metres of the cabin interior. The computing power of today’s machines makes it possible to explore all variations of shapes and structures for a given part. Generative design recreates the natural evolutionary process through the use of algorithms to create efficient shapes and develop the perfect part in each case.”
The cabin also features a head-up display with a holographic screen and a 45-degree polycarbonate strip that delivers additional information.