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Renault plotting ‘affordable’ 141mpg plug-in hybrid concept

French maker Renault is currently working on a 141mpg (117mpg US) plug-in hybrid concept that’s likely bound for the Geneva Motor Show in March.

The concept will resemble the company’s Clio hatchback, reports MSN Cars, and affordability will be key with a view to launching a production version.

“The concept is a B-segment car with Clio-type feature in terms of practicality and space. If we to make a production version it would be affordable,” said Renault’s head of advanced studies and materials, Remi Bastien.

Renault’s concept will join the decidedly less budget Volkswagen XL1 among the ranks of super-efficient plug-in hybrid cars. The XL1 is a carbon fiber diesel-electric plug-in hybrid that costs more than 110,000 euros in its homeland Germany yet returns more than 200mpg in normal driving conditions.

Although it’s principally an electric car, you could add the new range extender-equipped BMW i3 to that list as well. Both make heavy use of carbon fiber, however, and sit towards the top of the market. Renault’s approach will be slightly different.

“Aerodynamics is more important than reducing weight to increase an electric vehicle’s range – we can use the weight to harvest more kinetic energy when slow down,” Bastien added. “The main reason BMW decided to use lightweight carbon fiber for the i3 is for handling and performance, because of what the brand stands for. At Renault our challenge is to reduce cost.”
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