Definitely playful are the two Peugeot RC concepts, the black spades and the red diamonds version. Both cars are identical but for their powerplant. I wonder why Peugeot has this fixation with playing card symbols, after the 2"heart"6 CC and 3"heart"7 CC concepts now spades and diamonds. When will the joker be played, or are they hoping to come up trumps first?
Seriously, the job of both RC models is to introduce Peugeot's new line of powerful sports editions of their regular models like the 206 RC, a true hot hatch. And what better way to do that than fitting the new RC performance engines in an attractive sports car which shows hints of the successful Peugeot Group C racers of the 1990s?
The black RC is powered by the 2.0 litre 4-cylinder 180 hp petrol unit which also appears in the 206 RC. In the case of the RC concepts the engine is fitted transversely in the mid-rear of the car, behind the passenger compartment, and drives the rear wheels through a six speed transmission. The manual gearbox is electro-hydraulically operated and gears are sequentially selected by a lever on the central transmission tunnel or by up and down buttons on the steering wheel. Very fashionable racy, though not always practical in every day traffic.
The red RC is propelled by a diesel unit, a 16-valve 2.2 litre 4-cylinder HDi engine producing 175 hp and no less than 400 Nm torque. Again a diesel powered sports car, what's with that?
The RC concepts weigh about 950 kg and that means that they have a performance to match their looks: 0 to 100 kph acceleration in just 6 seconds and a maximum speed of 230 kph. These lightweight constructions are made from carbon composite on honeycomb panels, formed and baked in an autoclave. A roll-over bar is integrated and the shell forms a rigid assembly with the roof.
The interior features red leather upholstery with stainless steel and aluminum trimming, a dashboard with both analog and digital instruments, an automatic air conditioning system, a CD-radio-telephone set and the inevitable on-board navigation system. Although both cars are well finished and complete there are no plans of taking them into production.
Typical show cars, these RCs, aimed directly at getting attention. As such not a bad job and probably good for getting Peugeot a more dynamic image. Still it's a pity they won't lead to anything more concrete, I think there could be some room for a snappy compact sports car like these RCs.
Renault shows another eco-diesel concept, yet totally different from Opel's Eco Speedster displayed in an other hall. Where the Opel aimed at adding a bit of excitement to eco-diesel technology Renault chooses to present a basic and cuddly 5-door saloon.
The philosophy behind the Ellypse is to make a friendly car in all aspects. On the outside soothing, rather familiar lines which don't need a lot of getting used too; on the inside a basic, soft and tactile interior and underneath a small yet powerful diesel engine optimized for minimal emissions. To ensure minimal ecological damage the Ellypse driver is warned automatically when exhaust emission levels are exceeded. I guess he or she then has to park it somewhere and continue by foot.
Of course the Ellypse itself shouldn't pollute the world too much as well. Therefore the majority of its parts are recycled, recyclable or renewable. The number of parts used in the car are kept to a minimum and easy to remove and sort for recycling. The doors are made from recycled aluminum for instance, the hood, fenders and rear bodywork (the lighter colored parts) from recycled and laminated plastic and the floor is covered with a material made from leather offcuts. If you're done with it park it in front of the recycle bin, would you?
Power comes from a 1.2 litre 16-valve turbodiesel engine, squeezing out 100 hp and 200 Nm torque. A diagnostics system continuously monitors the composition of emissions, fluids and gases of the car and warns when maintenance is necessary. The engine is assisted by a 12 kW starter alternator which can propel the car over short distances, adding to the reduction of emissions. Coupled to the engine is an automatic gearbox which adjusts and optimizes fuel consumption to driving style. All this added to a low vehicle weight of 980 kg results in a fuel consumption of only 3.2 litres per 100 km and a very limited emission of just 85 g carbon dioxide per kilometer.
Stopping pollution, making resources last longer and reducing waste of nature are sensible and important goals, especially for mass production industry. Yet I don't quite understand why it has to be linked with the "softer" emotions and technology which corrects the use of the product by the consumer. Please stop making a fuss about it and just apply ecologically sound technology as standard. As for the Ellypse: it's not a bad design but it does remind a lot of the Fiat Ecobasic presented in 2000.