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Published on September 18th, 2014 | by Steve Hanley


Renault EOLAB Plug-in Hybrid Can Get “234 MPG”

September 18th, 2014 by  

Editor’s Note: Here’s some fun news regarding a new Renault car that is hyper efficient. Interestingly, Steve thinks this looks much better than the Volkswagen XL1, while I actually prefer the VW XL1. I thought the XL1 was stunning when I saw it at EVS27 in Barcelona last year. That said, I don’t think the Renault EOLAB plug-in hybrid looks bad! And its specs are certainly enticing. If only Renault would build the beauty….

For more info and commentary, check out this GAS2 repost from Steve Hanley:

234 MPG Renault EOLAB PHEV To Debut In Paris


The Renault EOLAB ultra high mileage concept car will debut at the Paris Auto Show in October, the latest of what the Europeans call  a 1-liter car. That (ideally) means it is capable of going 100 kilometers on just 1 liter of fuel, which works out to 234 mpg.

Renault is not the first company at the 1 liter party. Volkswagen’s XL1 is already on sale in Germany. But as brilliant as the XL1 is from an engineering perspective is, its appearance is rather industrial.  It looks like a refrigerator on wheels, especially in white, while the Renault EOLAB, on the other hand, sizzles. My first reaction to the concept was “WOW, I want one!”

The key to high mileage is low weight. Renault has pulled out all the stops on the EOLAB. Aluminum is used extensively in the body and drive train, the roof is magnesium, and the hood is fixed in place (no heavy hinges). The windshield glass is a mere 3 mm thick, saving 2.6 kilograms, and the interior plastic trim is hollow wherever possible. Passengers sit on lightweight seats. There is only one door on the driver’s side but two on the passenger’s side. One less door saves critical weight.

The car tips the scales at just 2,100 lbs, which is what the iconic Renault 5 Turbo weighed 35 years ago. But the EOLAB incorporates all the creature comforts and structural rigidity we expect in a modern automobile.

Renault engineers have devoted a lot of effort to reducing aerodynamic drag. The car lowers itself closer to the pavement while cruising on the highway. The wheels have an “active louver” system that reduces drag but opens when brake cooling is required. There are active spoilers front and rear to keep the air flowing smoothly over the exterior at any vehicle speed. Add it all up and the EOLAB has a coefficient of drag of 0.235Cd – one of the lowest of any vehicle ever.

What makes it go? A 1.0 liter, three-cylinder gasoline engine puts out 75 horsepower and is paired with a 50 kW electric motor. A 6.7 kWh lithium ion battery allows it to travel 34 miles on electric power alone, at speeds up to 74 mph. The engine and electric motor work together in a novel way, giving the EOLAB a total of 9 possible forward speeds.

Renault says the EOLAB concept is a preview of some of the “innovative technology that is destined to be introduced on production Renaults from now until 2020.” Does that mean the EOLAB itself will ever make it into production? Probably not. But it does suggest that future cars do not have to be drab and boring to meet ever tightening mileage standards. And that is very good news indeed.

Renault EOLAB 2

Renault EOLAB 3

Renault EOLAB

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About the Author

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Rhode Island and anywhere else the Singularity may take him. His muse is Charles Kuralt -- "I see the road ahead is turning. I wonder what's around the bend?" You can follow him on Google + and on Twitter.

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