This is a well-traveled marketing road or is it airway? At the conclusion of the year-long publicity events for the 60th anniversary of Renault4, a concept car was virtually revealed today. The French automaker called it a reinterpretation of Renault 4L, a car that has sold more than 8 million units in ~100 countries over a period of more than 30 years. (Oshkosh Silliness? First Flying Car Slated for 2019)
The original Renault 4 was a simple, efficient and versatile vehicle built between 1961 and 1992. A “blue jeans” car, as the former head of Renault Group, Pierre Dreyfus, used to describe it. It transported families, businesses and the likes of the gendarmerie and La Poste, as well as helping several generations of young motorists just getting behind the wheel. Now there’s a 4L designed to drive along above our heads. AIR4 claims the air as the new road of the future, according to Renault.
The virtual wanna be vehicle is made of carbon-fiber. It more or less maintains the same lines and mass of the original 4L, with new dynamic aspects. The rigidity has been revised to include thrust or lift, which required hours of calculations and tests. “Drawing on generative design techniques using artificial intelligence, TheArsenale’s* engineers were able to test terabytes of data to improve and fine-tune the designers’ ideas, even before starting the first real-world trials,” Renault said.
To drive around, AIR4 has no wheels. Instead, it has four two-blade propellers, one at each corner of the vehicle. The chassis sits in the middle of the frame, and the driver can access and take a seat in the utilitarian cabin of the vehicle by lifting the front-hinged shell. From a technical standpoint,
AIR4 is powered by 22,000 mAh lithium polymer batteries with a total capacity of 90,000 mAh. The vehicle counts on a horizontal top speed of 26m/s, with a 45-degree inclination during flights, and up to a maximum inclination of 70. It can fly as high as 700m with a takeoff speed of 14m/s, restrained at 4 m/s for safety reasons, and landing velocity of 3 m/s. AIR4 offers a maximum vectorial thrust of 380 kilograms, or 95kg per propeller.
AIR4 has been imagined, designed, engineered and assembled entirely in France, in the heart of Europe’s first technology park in Sophia Antipolis, on the Côte d’Azur. After its digital presentation today’s virtually debut (26th of November), AIR4 will go on public display from next Monday until the end of the year in Paris at the Atelier Renault on the Champs Elysée, alongside other historic versions of the Renault 4. Beginning 2022, AIR4 visit Miami and then New York, before a stop in Macau.
The AIR4 is the first product from TheArsenale’s ROAD TO AIR division, which envisions the future transport network to be in the sky. AIR4 is the brainchild of Patrice Meignan, CEO and Founder of TheArsenale, who sought to create a new kind of vehicle that establishes brand identity.
“I have dedicated my life to the passion for mobility and I continually explore all aspects of the moving world,” says Patrice Meignan. “After 25 years of forward-looking research, we believe that the icons of car culture are eternal, whether on earth or in the air. For 60 years, Renault 4 has been driven by ordinary people who make it extraordinary. It is a car that symbolizes adventure: simple, practical, useful and as modern as it is retro. Most drivers will tell you; it allows you to travel differently and to live an adventure. This ‘traveling different’ has inspired my team and I. With AIR4 by TheArsenale, the Renault 4 is ready for one of its greatest adventures yet.”