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Cars Renault Eolab

Published on October 30th, 2014 | by Steve Hanley


Renault Claims Eolab 1-Liter Concept Car Would Cost Just $23,900

October 30th, 2014 by  


How much would you spend for a car that gets 235 miles per gallon? According to a report in Automotive News Europe, Renault claims its Eolab, shown to the world for the first time at the Paris Auto Show this month, would cost the same as the current Clio diesel, which sells for $23,900. The Eolab is what Europeans call a “1 liter car.” That means it needs only one liter of fuel to travel 100 kilometers. By comparison, Volkswagen’s 1 liter car, the XL1, sells for $170.000. How is that difference possible?

Renault EolabFor starters, Renault steered clear of expensive materials when designing its car. Thierry Bollore, the company’s chief competitive officer, says Renault purposely avoided the use of exotic materials such as carbon fiber for the Eolab. Instead, it uses lightweight steel, aluminum and other composites. As a result, the magnesium roof weighs less than 10 pounds and the total weight of the car is a featherweight 2,200 pounds.

Part of the reason for avoiding carbon fiber and other exotics is practicality. “It’s easy to put carbon everywhere, but if you are a customer what do you do if your carbon fiber door is broken? It’s a disaster. It costs a fortune. If it’s made of aluminum it’s easy because everyone knows how to repair it,” he said.

Renault has put a lot of effort into maximizing the Eolab’s aerodynamic efficiency as well. The variable ride height allows the car to sit closer to the pavement as speed increases, reducing drag, while it raises up at lower speeds to avoid potholes and the like. A front bumper spoiler lowers itself 4 inches at speeds above 40 miles per hour to restrict airflow beneath the car. Rear-bumper flaps also open at that speed to help maintain smooth airflow along the sides of the car.

The Eolab concept is powered by a plug-in hybrid powertrain that has a 75-hp 1.0-liter three-cylinder gasoline engine, a 6.7 kWh battery and a clutchless three-speed transmission with an integrated electric motor. The car has a 40 mile range under electric power only, at least by Europe’s generous standards.

Renault has not committed to building the Eolab yet partly because changes to company manufacturing facilities will be required before the car can be put into production. But the lessons learned from creating the Eolab will be incorporated into future Renault models.

When someone starts selling a car that gets better than 200 mpg for $24,000, I will be down at my local dealer with cash in hand, ready to buy. Hope it’s soon!

Source: Gas2. Reprinted with permission.

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writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Rhode Island. You can follow him on Google + and on Twitter.

  • This would be awesome! I also hope they make an EV version – with a Leaf battery pack, I’ll bet this car would have ~120-140 miles. The Cd is better than anything this side of the XL1.

    Please do build it, Renault / Nissan! Please?

    • Joseph Dubeau

      Renault works with LG on battery technology.
      And Renault makes the Twizy.

      • Renault and Nissan are owned by the same people. Carlos Ghosn is CEO of both companies, I think.

        • Larmion

          They’re not exactly owned by the same people. In the 90’s, but carmakers needed to scale up but couldn’t afford to do expensive take-overs.

          They came up with a curious arrangement where the respective shareholders acquired some shares in each other and both companies share some technology and parts. It’s something more than a joint-venture but less than a merger. Both companies remain seperate entities that could split cleanly in an instant if they would want to.

          • Thanks for the clarification. I hope that Renault shares the aero design of the Eolab with Nissan. They do share their EV tech and batteries.

            A low drag EV could negate the need for a plugin hybrid.

      • Joseph Dubeau

        The Twizy is around half the price of the Eolab.
        As prices of LG battery pack come down in price, they should be to make the all electric Eolab with 120-140 range at the same price.

  • Miles

    “When someone starts selling a car that gets better than 200 mpg for $24,000, I will be down at my local dealer with cash in hand, ready to buy”.


  • Matt

    Let me translate for you. “Don’t buy a EV, because in no time we will have a 250 MPG car for you”. Or maybe that is “because at time will we have”

    • Uri Naor

      i agree
      they for 7 times more efficiency with a heavy car that doesnt have anything new/exotic in it. so what all the other manufacturers are either dumb or being paid by exxon to produce gas consuming cars. heck it doesnt even look different

    • Ronald Brakels

      It’s a plug in hybrid with a 64 kilometer all electric range. Presumably that means for most people it’s going to spend most of its time operating as an EV. It is something that currently would suit a lot of Australians, but particularly given typical European driving habits pure EVs are going to give it a lot of competition. After all, if they can produce a plug in hybrid for $24,000 they can produce a longer range all electric for the same price. The internal combustion engine, drive train and fuel tank will cost money after all.

  • Joseph Dubeau

    “When someone starts selling a car that gets better than 200 mpg for $24,000, I will be down at my local dealer with cash in hand, ready to buy. Hope it’s soon!”

    You and million other customers. I certainly hope so!

  • Marion Meads

    At first read, the word Ebola crossed my mind. Hope the ride is nice but I doubt it from a cheaper metal framework. How about the safety rating?

    • Larmion

      Should be okay, in principle. Cars that heavily use aluminium and even carbon fibre (which has a lower structural strength than typical steel constructions) are still more than safe enough.

      Why? Because only a small fraction of the chassis has any structural function. Most cars can (to simplify things a bit) be described as a thin steel skeleton clad with steel sheets. If you retain the skeleton but use carbon or aluminium sheets, you get a sharp reduction in weight with no change in strength.

      That’s of course far too simplistic: car safety is influenced by other variables (mass, shape, room for compression, distribution of forces etc). However, with the exception of mass all those are independent from the strength of the materials used.

      In short, using lighter materials makes the safety engineering involved harder, but that doesn’t mean the outcome has to be any worse.

  • Mike333

    If that price is TRUE, the CEO has No Excuse not to build it. I think shareholders would lynch him otherwise.

    • Frederik

      It’s pretty strange that a company names a price for a car and then says that it’s not yet intending to build the car, but only to use its lessons in future models. I wonder if we’ll ever see this car. To me, this story sound much to good to be true.

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