Citroen C4 Cactus AIRFLOW 2L ConceptOctober 1, 2014
News Round Up: The Citroen C4 Cactus AIRFLOW 2L Concept achieves fuel economy of over 141mpg thanks to lighter weight, improved aerodynamics and PureTech 82 engine with Hybrid Air technology.
This level of fuel economy is achieved using:
- optimised design with a 20% improvement in aerodynamics
- lower rolling resistance “tall & narrow” tyres
- lighter parts to reduce overall vehicle weight by 100kg
- Hybrid Air technology, which cuts fuel consumption by 30%
The C4 Cactus AIRFLOW 2L project was undertaken as part of the “2l/100 km vehicle” programme set up by the Plateforme de la Filière Automobile industry group in France. The objective is to reduce the impact of vehicle running costs on household expenditure and to reduce the eco-footprint of car travel.
The Citroën C4 Cactus AIRFLOW 2L Concept
1. A body optimised for aerodynamic performance
On the C4 Cactus AIRFLOW 2L, some styling features have been modified and others created in order to optimise vehicle aerodynamics.
- The new front bumper features three air intakes that continuously adjust in accordance with vehicle use, both for engine cooling and to regulate air flow
- Mobile side deflectors have been added to effectively guide the air flow around the vehicle
- The wheels feature mobile shutters activated and controlled by centrifugal force
- New generation 19-inch “ultra ultra” low rolling resistance “tall & narrow” tyres. Their design improves both energy efficiency and aerodynamics. The large diameter also means they are better able to soak up bumps and dips in the road surface
- The wheel arches feature an “Air Curtain”. This is achieved with small aerodynamic slats on either end of the front bumper to channel the air along the wheels
- The spoiler has been lengthened and an air extractor has been added on the rear bumper in order to reduce the turbulence that can increase drag
- The conventional door mirrors have been replaced by smaller, slimmer rearview cameras to reduce the impact on air flow
- The vehicle sub-structure has been entirely streamlined so the air flows smoothly underneath the car
- LED light modules at the front and rear replace the existing lights. Consuming little power, these new modules save energy and benefit fuel economy
2. Innovative materials for lighter weight
The production C4 Cactus is already 200kg lighter than the Citroën C4 hatchback, yet the C4 Cactus AIRFLOW 2L concept shaves off a further 100kg. This means Citroën’s designers have reduced the weight of the concept by 11% compared with the production vehicle.
To achieve this, the brand has reduced the weight of many structural components, with the body sub-structure featuring new materials:
- Aluminium, for the upper cowl panel, inner side members and rear floor pan
- High-yield steels, for the front side rails and heel board
- Composite materials for the front of the vehicle floor
- Carbon-based composite materials have been used for the suspension springs, tailgate, rear bench, side panels, roof, roof cross-members, wings and doors.
- Aluminium is used for the engine cradle. The bonnet specification is the same as for the production C4 Cactus, which already uses aluminium
- Owing to their significantly lower bulk and density (around 2,700kg/m3 for aluminium and around 1,200 kg/m3 for carbon, compared with 7,800kg/m3 for steel), these materials contribute significantly to reducing overall vehicle weight
Citroën also decided to use:
- New processes to reduce the thickness of the tubes and cups in the exhaust system
- Translucent polycarbonate, for the panoramic sunroof. This material is even lighter than multi-layer glass, but has the same properties in terms of thermal and acoustic insulation and ultra-violet filtering capability
- Carbon fibre on the Airbump® panels to make the material lighter, while maintaining its technical properties
Hybrid Air technology for breakthrough fuel consumption
With the brand’s latest-generation Euro 6 engines, the production C4 Cactus already ranks among the best in its segment with CO2 emissions from 82g/km and fuel consumption starting at just 91.1mpg.
The C4 Cactus AIRFLOW 2L concept goes even further by adopting the Hybrid Air drivetrain. Presented by the PSA Peugeot Citroën Group in January 2013, and featured on a Citroën C3 at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, this technology combines a range of proven sub-systems and technologies. This includes a 3-cylinder PureTech petrol engine, a compressed air energy storage unit, a hydraulic pump/motor unit and an automatic transmission with an epicyclic gear train. An intelligent electronic management system manages input from the driver to optimise energy efficiency.
Three operating modes are available:
- Air power (zero emissions) where the compressed air motor takes over from the petrol engine
- Petrol power, using only the combustion engine
- Combined power, drawing upon both the combustion engine and the compressed air
On the C4 Cactus AIRFLOW 2L concept, the two compressed air storage tanks are made of composite materials and are positioned at the rear of the vehicle.
The PureTech 82 engine, already available on the production model, has been optimised for this new hybrid drivetrain. Friction losses, which account for 20% of the power consumed by the engine, have been reduced in several ways. This includes using a Diamond-like carbon coating, making moving parts lighter and using bearings to guide rotating parts. Further improvements were made by adopting new polymer pads and using very low viscosity oil. Combined with efforts to optimise combustion, overall engine efficiency has been improved by 5%.
Combining the PureTech 82 engine with Hybrid Air technology for this concept reduces fuel consumption by 30% and contributes significantly to achieving a vehicle capable of 2l/100 km, while approaching the PureTech 110 in terms of dynamic performance.
C4 Cactus AIRFLOW 2L concept, just 2l/100 km
All these advanced technologies together deliver consumption of 2l/100 km. It could therefore be possible, in the medium term, for a production vehicle such as C4 Cactus to reach this target.