Citroën is showing a concept at Frankfurt that it claims reduces weight and cuts impact on the environment by drastically cutting the number of components used. The car does away with a conventional dashboard and bonnet.
Low on consumption, like the cactus plant, the diesel hybrid model returns over 80mpg on the combined cycle.
The C-Cactus is built on the Citroën C4 platform, yet uses only around half the components of a conventional car and incorporates many recycled components.
It offers fuel economy of 83mpg, CO2 emissions of just 78g/km and a ZEV (Zero Emission Vehicle) mode whilst maximum speed is deliberately capped at 93mph.
Fitted with a Diesel Particulate Filter System, the hybrid HDi drivetrain combines a 70bhp HDi diesel engine with an electric motor that provides an additional 30bhp of power.
For urban driving, the ZEV mode provides silent, all-electric operation, and for journeys requiring successive acceleration and deceleration, the hybrid system limits fuel consumption by using both types of energy.
But it’s in the area of design that the car is addressing an issue tnat few carmakers have tackled – CO2 and energy usage in manufacturing. By simplifying the design, Citroën says it also keeps production costs down meaning that the diesel hybrid car could be sold for a similar cost as a conventional car.
Citroën engineers streamlined the number of parts and mechanisms required, incorporated several functions into a single part and removed all features that are non-essential to the running of the car or to the comfort and safety of the occupants.
This is illustrated by the cabin, which consists of just over 200 parts, only around half that of a similarly-sized conventional car.
One of the first moves involved the removal of the dashboard, with the original functions and loudspeakers, gearbox controls and navigation system now grouped on the central console and Citroën’s signature fixed centre controls steering wheel. The ignition key is also an MP3 player.
The front bumper section, which includes the headlamps and trademark Citroën chevrons, also makes up the lower part of the rear tailgate. The design of the car’s front end consists of just two parts: the fixed bonnet comprising the front wings and a flap giving access to the vehicle maintenance functions.
The door panels are made of just two parts, compared to 12 in a conventional car, and because the automatic air conditioning system virtually makes it unnecessary to open the windows, Citroën’s engineers have removed the opening mechanisms and replaced them with simple sliding panes.
The front seats comprise just two parts: a moulded, integral-skin foam part for the seat and a solid monoblock frame to hold the former in place and fix it to the floor rails.
Citroën will also be showing a new flexfuel vehicle. Set to be launched on the Continent later this year, the C4 BioFlex, will be the Company’s first European flexfuel vehicle. Running on bioethanol, unleaded petrol or a mix of the two, this model, says offers a remarkable “field-to-wheel” reduction in CO2 emissions of up to 40 percent.
Citroën’s Airscape concept will also be on show.