These days it’s becoming the norm to unveil a car that, on paper, manages some absurd fuel economy figure. The latest car manufacturer to join the fray is Citroen.
The Citroen C4 Cactus Airflow Hybrid Air concept 2L uses a few neat tricks to reach a claimed 141mpg – about 50mpg better than the most efficient production Cactus. It does so by using a frugal 1.2-litre petrol engine mated to a hydraulic air pump and compressed air tank system.
Basically compressed air is used to build up hydraulic pressure, which turns the wheels. The idea is to stop the engine from drinking fuel unnecessarily. Peugeot unveiled a similar system in its 208 Hybrid 2L Demonstrator.
Citroen has also fine-tuned the aerodynamics so the Cactus is better able to cut through the air. There are clever flaps in the front bumper, C-pillar and alloy wheels that adjust on the fly to use air resistance to its advantage.
Carbon fibre for the trademark ‘Airbump’ panels, polycarbonate for the panoramic roof, low-resistance tyres and other structural adjustments have saved 100kg of weight, further improving the fuel efficiency.
The French government challenged car makers to create a car capable of 141mpg. The Citroen C4 Cactus Airflow Hybrid Air concept 2L was one of the responses.
You can see the air-taming Citroen – complete with its crazy self-closing alloy wheels – in the video below. Whether it reaches production is anyone’s guess.