Now this is a flying car we can get behind.
Renault has reimagined the cute little R4 hatchback for the 21st century, taking away its wheels and adding four drone-like arms and propellers.
Called the Air4, it is the brainchild of Renault and Miami-based design consultants TheArsenale. Basically, it’s a new version of the 1960s hatch that can fly at altitudes of up to 700 metres, cruise at speeds of up to around 94kmh and tilt at up to 70 degrees in the air. Each of the four two-blade propellers generates 95kg of vertical thrust each for a total of 380kg.
Power comes from lithium-polymer batteries generating around 90,000mAh, which is the equivalent of a little under 30 times the capacity of an iPhone 13 battery. Renault doesn’t say how far you can fly.
The body sits in the middle of the frame, with the R4 shell swinging forward on a hinge to allow access. It’s made entirely from carbon fibre, so it should be light.
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“After a year-long celebration we wanted to create something unconventional to close up the 60th anniversary of the Renault 4,” commented Arnaud Belloni, Renault Brand Global Marketing Director.
The Renault 5 is making a comeback as an all-electric supermini.
“This collaboration with TheArsenale was a natural fit. The flying show-car Air4 is something unseen and a wink to how this icon could look like in another 60 years.”
The Air4 will go on public display in the centre of Paris at the Atelier Renault on the Champs Elysées from next Monday until the end of the year, alongside other historic versions of the Renault 4. Then, it will head to Miami, New York and Macau for more exhibitions.
Needless to say, we won’t be seeing a production version any time soon, if ever. We will, however, get an electric reboot of the Renault 5, which could also spawn a modernised 4.
The reborn 5 gets similar design cues to its 20th century forebear, with square-shaped headlights, square intakes with LED outlining, and LED strakes around the back as well. ‘Renault’ is spelt out in yet more LEDs near the bottom of the rear end.
A red stripe running along the roof’s edge looks like a nod to the Renault 5 GT Turbo from back in the day, which means the modern EV may get a high-performance variant too.
There isn’t a concrete release date yet but Renault’s boss, Luca de Meo, said it’ll be sold “at a price that many, many people will be able to afford.” The company also confirmed it will launch 14 “core vehicles” by 2025. Most, if not all of these will be electrified to some extent.