Renault swings out with ultralight hybrid

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Renault

Should French automaker Renault go to production with its ultralight EOLAB five-passenger hybrid concept car, the vehicle would come in some 400 pounds less than the diminutive Smart fortwo does, despite the former being some 50 inches longer than the latter.

According to a report that was posted on Jalopnik, which is a motorist enthusiast website, the EOLAB weighs 882 pounds less than Renault’s comparable two-door Clio, which weighs 2,247 pounds. The EOLAB’s body was described as being made from a combination of aluminum, magnesium, plastic and steel composites. The car’s roof and parts of the seat frames also are said to be made of magnesium. Other materials-based, weight-shedding approaches include the use of aluminum instead of steel to construct certain suspension components. This would deliver 20 percent of the car’s weight reduction. The EOLAB’s brake system weighs 20 pounds less than the Clio’s brake system does, because Renault replaced the master cylinder and integrated all systems into one unit, according to Jalopnik.

The EOLAB’s weight advantage also is evident in comparison with the all-electric Mitsubishi i-MiEV. The i-MiEV is about 12 inches shorter, but the EOLAB weighs about 1,160 pounds less.

The Jalopnik report noted that Renault set no production date for the EOLAB, although Jalopnik theorized that the car might hit the assembly line before 2020, perhaps as a Nissan, given that Renault-Nissan Alliance has been in place since 1999.