Steane Klose | Sep 3, 2007

Citroen have just announced details of their C-Cactus concept which will be unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show later this month. Combining the efficiency benefits of diesel and electric powerplants the C-Cactus hybrid is Citroen’s vision of a cost effective and fuel efficient future.

How does 3.4 litres per 100 km sound? If that doesn’t impress you then maybe the fact that it only produces 78g/km of carbon dioxide will. The C-Cactus has not only been designed to be frugal and easy on the atmosphere it has also been designed to be, as Citroen put it, “truly ecological”.

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The construction process of the C-Cactus has been simplified in an effort to minimise consumption of the planets resources. The interior is made from a sum total of just 200 parts, approximately half as many as an average car. In fact, so simple is the design of the C-Cactus that even with its advanced diesel-hybrid drivetrain, it would sell for around the same price as a Citroen C4, were it to go into production. That’s around AUD 25,000. Compare that to a Toyota Prius.

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The C-Cactus boasts a 4.2 metre long, 1.8 metre wide body and features such as climate control airconditioning, a high quality audio system, panoramic sunroof, cruise control and a speed limiter.

“The Citroen C-Cactus is the epitome of a Citroen with its intelligent, thoughtful technology that provides clear solutions to a range of transport and environmental issues,” says Miles Williams, General Manager for Citroen in Australia. “At the same time, it is stylish, comfortable and, thanks to intelligent design that also includes production and construction savings, delivers a high equipment level and promises a highly competitive price. Indeed, it is clear that tomorrow’s Citroen will be much like today’s Citroen – stylish, comfortable, keenly priced, environmentally friendly and offering low running costs, just more so!”

Typically Citroen, unique, innovative and a little odd in the nicest of ways the C-Cactus is in my opinion the way forward for hybrids…ditch the petrol in favour of diesel and keep the price down.

Steane

[Source: Citroen]

For the full press release follow the link.

C-CACTUS

Essential, intelligent and ecologically aware

The economic and ingenious solutions adopted for C-Cactus keep production costs down and make it possible to fit a diesel hybrid drivetrain, all for the price of an entry-level C4. To achieve this result, C-Cactus places the emphasis on equipment that is essential to passenger comfort. At the same time, it explores new design processes in order to show that economy and ecology need not be synonymous with a rough ride.

New avenues in design

C-Cactus is the result of an intelligent design process pursuing new objectives. By exploring new forms of expression and new technical solutions, Citroën's engineers cut the number of parts required to build the car.

To achieve this objective, the engineers:

- simplified a number of parts and mechanisms to the extreme,

- grouped several functions in a single part,

- removed all parts that are non-essential to the running of the car or to the comfort and well-being of its occupants.

The dashboard has gone, and its usual functions are now grouped on the central console and the fixed hub of the steering wheel. The central console thus includes the active loudspeakers, gearbox controls and tactile screen giving access to the onboard computer, navigation system and air conditioning controls. The controls for the indicators, lights, wipers, horn and cruise control/speed limiter are on the fixed hub of the steering wheel, as are the tachometer and lights for the indicators, headlamps and warning signals.

Another example of simplification: the part used for the front bumper, which includes the headlamps and chevrons is the same as the part making up the lower part of the tailgate at the rear. This contributes to the assertive design of C-Cactus while bringing economies of scale in production.

This simplicity is also reflected in the design of the front end, which comprises just two parts: a fixed bonnet comprising the front wings, and a flap giving access to the vehicle maintenance functions (oil, windscreen washer, etc.).

Reflecting a similar approach, using the air conditioning makes it virtually unnecessary to open the windows. A simple sliding mechanism is therefore provided, since this is sufficient in normal use. Engineers were thus able to get rid of both the window frames and the opening mechanism.

At the same time, a number of single units are used for C-Cactus to reduce the overall number of parts.

The door panels, for example, are made of two parts, compared with twelve in a conventional hatchback.

The seats also comprise two parts: a highly comfortable, moulded, coloured, integral-skin foam part for the seat, and a solid monoblock frame to hold the foam in place and fix the seat to the floor rails. The ergonomics are excellent and – here again – the number of components is limited.

Advanced ecological features

To achieve real environmental impact, Citroën's objective has always been to market technologies and vehicles that are affordable to the greatest number. The objective with C-Cactus is to go one step further, by bringing out a car whose hybrid HDi drivetrain makes it truly ecological car, but that can be sold at the same price as an entry-level family car.

With its diesel hybrid drivetrain combining a 70 bhp DIN HDi diesel engine with a particulate filter and an electric motor providing additional power of 30 bhp DIN, C Cactus consumes just 3.4l/100 km with CO2 emission levels of 78 g/km over a combined cycle. In urban use, ZEV (Zero Emission Vehicle) mode provides silent, all-electric operation. On journeys involving successive acceleration and deceleration, the hybrid system limits fuel consumption by using both types of energy.

Other points also help to make C-Cactus a car that respects the environment.

The solutions adopted for the design of C-Cactus also contribute to bringing down fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Using fewer parts makes the vehicle 15% lighter than a C4 Hybrid HDi for a total weight of 1,306 kg.

The tyre width has also been kept down (205/45 R21) on C-Cactus, which adds to environmental performance.

Fewer parts also mean smaller quantities of raw materials. In addition, a significant part of the materials used are recycled or recyclable. The windscreen and windows, for example, are made of recyclable glass. The tyres are also recyclable, as is the crude steel used for the door panels. This metal is unpainted and unvarnished but has been treated for corrosion.

The protective mats are made of recycled leather, taken from leather cut-offs that cannot be used by conventional tanneries. Many parts are made of cork, a natural material made from the bark of oak trees. The felt used for the door panels and fascia stowage compartments is made from wool. This material uses no chemical additives and is both recyclable and biodegradable.

The top speed of C-Cactus has deliberately been capped at 150 kph. This choice not only contributes to the car's good environmental performance, it also reflects Citroën's efforts to develop a green vehicle illustrating a new approach to the car, in which the motorist is in harmony with his/her surrounding environment.

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