Renault’s ultra fuel-efficient Eolab concept revealed at this year’s Paris Auto Show would not be more expensive than a diesel-powered Clio, a company official revealed.
If Renault decided to build it, the Eolab would cost well under €20,000 ($25,485), according to Thierry Bollore, the company’s chief competitive officer. “We know that in mass production this car would not cost more than a Clio dCi 90hp,” Bollore told Autonews Europe. The Clio dCi 90 starts at €18,500 ($23,580) in France.
Renault doesn’t say whether it plans to build the Eolab concept, which averages just 1 l/100 km (282 mpg UK or 235 mpg US) and emits 22 g/km of CO2. The amazing values are due to aerodynamic and lightweight solutions, as well as the plug-in hybrid powertrain that combines a 75-hp 1.0-liter three-cylinder gasoline engine with a 6.7 kWh battery and a clutch-less three-speed transmission with an integrated electric motor.
So how could Renault afford to sell the Eolab so cheap compared to other plug-in hybrids currently on sale? Bollore says it’s because the automaker purposefully avoided the use of expensive lightweight materials such as carbon fiber and went for cheaper solutions such as aluminum, lightweight steel and other composite materials. This is why Eolab weighs just 955kg (2,105 lbs).
“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.
Bollore said some of Eolab’s 110 innovations, particularly the powertrain, will be seen on future Renault models.