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Renault Ondelios hybrid diesel crossover (10/09/2008)


The Paris Motor Show sees the wraps come off Renaultís top-of-the-range concept car, Ondelios, designed for lovers of long-haul travel who set store by comfort and refinement. Ondelios epitomises Renaultís vision of the high-end crossover, combining a comfortable ride with respect for the environment. Clear illustrations of that vision are the vehicleís design, its interior layout and an original hybrid powertrain.

A sleek design that answers the call of the open road
Embodying Renaultís vision of a top-of-the-range car, the 4.8-metre-long, 1.6-metre high Ondelios has drawn inspiration from the world of aviation design to deliver high aerodynamic efficiency and a Cd of just 0.29. This long-distance voyager boasts sleek, smooth, amazingly fluid lines that make it appear as though it glides over the ground.

"Ondelios is inspired by motion rather than speed and is a whole new response to the call of the open road," enthuses Patrick Le Quťment, Renaultís Design Director.

The aluminium-finish grille is flanked by headlamp units that also suggest flowing motion, while its high-performance LED headlights are both longer lasting and more efficient.   Another feature of Ondelios' aerodynamic styling is the boomerang-shaped tail light treatment, built into the bodywork and ringed with air extractors to control the flow of air from the wheel arches.  The glazed roof further emphasises the vehicleís airy look and feel, bathing the interior in natural light. The steeply-raked windscreen, extends well down the bonnet, further accentuating this ethereal ambiance. 

Ondelios sits on seven-spoke, 23-inch aluminium alloy wheels which contribute to its profiled styling. The propeller-like hubs draw airflow from the sides of the car to prevent turbulence. They operate in conjunction with the brake discs to ensure they draw in air effectively.

The sleek sidewalls of the large diameter 255/45 Michelin Pilot Sport tyres deliver outstanding aerodynamic performance. Their tread pattern is designed to minimise deformation of the contact patch while on the move to help reduce rolling resistance.

The tread has efficient, active flow channels which, together with the wide circumferential groove that helps clear water, strengthen the image of a top of the range, high-tech tyre.

Business-class comfort for a long-haul journey
The elegance of Ondeliosí interior is in harmony with the call of the open road suggested by its exterior. To begin with, its layout is designed to benefit from all available space. There are three rows of seats that offer individual seating for six. With their cantilever mounts they give the impression of floating, while their kinematics are reminiscent of airplane seats. The electrically-adjustable backs fold into comfortable, business-class positions, while occupants can deploy and retract the footrests at will. Although their slim lines suggest lightness, they are designed, like giant leaves, to hug their occupants who can curl up in them to enjoy comfort and support.

Unlike conventional door opening systems, the doors are hinged to the roof, which makes getting into the car extremely easy. The second row of seats slides forward and folds down to facilitate easy access to the third row.

Interior features and fittings are both modern and intuitive. The ergonomically designed controls, in keeping with Renaultís touch design approach, afford users efficient, comfortable ease of use.

The ample, flowing, yet sober design of the broad dashboard echoes the carís aerodynamic exterior. It is further highlighted by a roomy, suspended stowage compartment which is protected by a lit shell, while all the dashboardís functional components are particularly user-friendly:

The smart technologies that have gone into designing Ondelios help drivers to settle in at the wheel, include a Samsung cell phone which also acts as a hands-free door lock recognises the driver and loads all his or her personal settings, e.g. seat-adjustment settings and favourite music. The vehicle adds a final, friendly touch in the form of the back-lit logo which lights up to show that it has recognised the driver.

The name Ondelios is an invented word which comes from the French 'onde' (wave) and 'helios' (the Greek god of the sun).  This name refers to the car's exterior appearance: fluid lines and the way light reflects off its body.  The combination of the image of a wave and the Greek suffix gives an upper-range feel to the name.

An environmentally friendly voyager
To complement the extensive work that has gone into Ondeliosís aerodynamics, some of the carís structural parts are made from natural flax fibre for greater recyclability. In keeping with the commitment to make the car as light as possible, its body is made from carbon and the glazed areas from polycarbonate.

Ondelios is powered by a hybrid powerplant which combines a more powerful 205hp (150kW) version of the 2.0 dCi engine, with two 20kW electric motors at the front and rear. They operate in mild hybrid mode, giving the engine extra boost as required. They use a brake and boost system, recovering energy during braking then delivering it to the engine to boost acceleration. The front motor also uses fuel-saving stop-start technology.  The electric motor mounted on the rear axle drives the rear wheels when the ESP sensors detect a loss of traction, thus giving Ondelios the capability of a 4WD vehicle. The car is equipped with a lithium-ion battery that can deliver power of up to 4kW/h.  With torque of 450Nm between 1,700 and 3800rpm, the diesel engine provides comfort and flexibility at all engine speeds for long-distance driving pleasure. The 2.0 dCi unit takes Ondelios from a standing start to 100kph in just 7.8 seconds. Driving through a seven-speed, double-clutch gearbox, it affords outstanding driving pleasure, while keeping fuel consumption at a frugal 4.5 litres/100km and CO2 emissions at a lowly 120g/km Ė very impressive for a top-of-the-range vehicle.  Similarly, the body, chassis design and hybrid powertrain contribute decisively to protecting the environment.

Ondelios is a long-distance travel-loving aerodynamic crossover created for the open road. It is proof that caring for occupants and the environment is entirely compatible. Ondelios is a concept car that illustrates Renaultís vision of a top of the range car of the near future.


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