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Renault Altica: 44MPG Diesel Concept with Active Airflow Management

3 February 2006

Altica1
The Altica

Renault has unveiled its Altica diesel concept car, a sporty sedan with an interesting subsystem that dynamically manages the airflow over the vehicle to maximize efficiency.

The Altica uses a new 2.0-liter dCi diesel that generates 130 kW (177 hp) of power and 380 Nm of torque with fuel consumption of 5.3 l/100km (44 mpg US) and CO2 emissions of 140 g/km. The car accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.5 seconds.

The engine is coupled to a six-speed manual transmission. Euro-4 compliant, the Altica comes with a particulate filter.

One of the more unique features of the car is the “Synthetic Jet” subsystem designed to optimize the vehicle’s aerodynamic performance—which, in turn assists in lowering fuel consumption.

Located at the rear edge of the roof at the point where the vehicle and the passing air flow separate, a discreet mechanical system generates jets of air which are alternately blown and sucked through a 2mm wide slit.

The Synthetic Jet system actively controls the separation of the air flow according to the vehicle’s speed, reducing drag and controlling the structure of the air flow. The Synthetic Jet, patented by Renault, can reduce the car’s Cd at 130 km/h by 15% at an energy consumption of just 10 watts.

Altica2
The Synthetic Jet in action.

February 3, 2006 in Diesel, Fuel Efficiency, Vehicle Systems | Permalink | Comments (17) | TrackBack (0)

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Comments

I think that's a nice looking car, just goes to show airflow and beauty are not exclusive.

(at second glance, it's got a bit of the Lotus Europa in it, doesn't it?)

Just goes to show that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Go back to your Aztek ;-)

I like it, too.

Anyone remember laminar flow? Dolphins reduce drag by taking in water along their skin, and release it out the back. Race cars tried to take advantage of it by having longitudinal slits in the car bodies. The Synthetic Jet might make the engineering manageable. It releases out the back, but skips the absorption of the fluid on the front and sides.

Anyone remember laminar flow? Dolphins reduce drag by taking in water along their skin, and release it out the back. Race cars tried to take advantage of it by having longitudinal slits in the car bodies. The Synthetic Jet might make the engineering manageable. It releases out the back, but skips the absorption of the fluid on the front and sides.

It's a brilliant idea for increasing aerodynamics. Renault/Citroen are actually doing some incredibly innovative things in car design. Too bad we're more likely to get Chinese cars in the US before we see the French again.

I've wondered too, why more cars don't use hydraulics (a al the old Citroen SM) to lower themselves into a more aerodynamic stance at high speeds, but this idea is even simpler (and cheaper) mechanically.

Interesting idea. Usually active control of the airstream is used for increased vehicle control, as with trimming a wing for an airplane or race car. This is the first time I can think of seeing it used to reduce drag for increased efficiency. 15% improvement, too. Imagine a future car with a number of adjustable aerodynamic features, and an onboard computer constantly fine tuning them to produce the least drag for the current given conditions. I think this is very interesting.

The AMC Gremlin...reborn. Let's hope they don't bring back the AMC Pacer next.

OK, Ok. Not everybody needs to like it ... but Gremlin?

Here are a couple cars I see being in the same genre, which some people like (and some don't):

Europa:

http://www.pistonheads.com/lotus/europa

BMW M Coupe:

http://www.tarr.com/personal/mcoupe.htm

IMHO, if the system achieves a 15% reduction in Cd for only 10 watts, it suggests that they've come nowhere near the optimum point.  My BOTE calculation says that they're cutting air drag losses by about 1100 watts at 130 kph, and they should be aiming closer to the peak of the savings curve.

In snow country and in rough road country, there is still a need for a high clearance vehicle. Unfortunately, the choices available are mainly SUVs which come with a lot of other undesirable characteristics such as low gas mileage and poor aerodynamics. An adjustable suspension would be a great solution.

Little snorkels and intake holes and so on are going to get filled up with grit and bird poop. Hope you can take em apart and give the system a clean otherwise this increase in aerodynamic efficiency wil only last about 6 months after the car is baught. Far less if we're talking offroad car. Additionally, it stands to reason any air tract system will also take in rain or snow. If it cannot be flushed at one point there will be rust unless other chassis alloys are used.

They usually refer to this in engineering circles as a "kludge".

Or not even. Those big chunky wheels, no skirts, probably no undertray... it's like some 300lb person driving to a gym that is five minutes away just to lift 5lb dumbells and do yoga, while eating pizza and telling the world that his weight problem is "glandular".

Hasn't VW been making diesels that get this kind of milage for years?
Inovative people have been using aerodynamics to allow their gas cars to get over 50mpg.
With all the "advances" in technology, can't a car company do better?

Nice..

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