Peugeot plans to reveal its Fractal concept electric vehicle later this month at the Frankfurt auto show.
As it sits now, this coupe has very little in common with the only battery electric Peugeot has in production right now, the iOn (which is sold in the U.S. as the Mitsubishi i-MiEV). Even though many of the futuristic elements currently featured on the Fractal will likely be left on the cutting room floor if the car ever moves into production, this electrified experiment presents some intriguing components.
To start, Peugeot said that its new Fractal concept was “shaped by sound.” At the core of this is the i-Cockpit. Carried forward from the 2010 SR1 concept car, the design focuses on enhancing the sight and sound of the drive.
“This is the first time that a concept car design has incorporated sound to such an extent,” said Matthias Hossann, Head of Concept Cars and Advanced Design at Peugeot.
Sound elements include “tactile bass systems built into the back of each seat to make driving all the more instinctive, enriching information through the use of acoustics,” said Peugeot.
The auditory experience extends beyond music. The Fractal’s navigation systems uses a “synthesized voice [that] appears to come from some distance in front of the car,” the carmaker explained. “As the vehicle travels along, the source moves toward the cabin and shifts to the side to which the car needs to turn. At intersections, it is positioned in close proximity, inside the car, to alert the driver to an immediate change of direction.”
Outside the car another sound signature alerts pedestrians and cyclists of the oncoming coupe.
“Drivers need to process an increasing amount of information within their vehicle, which demands more and more attention,” said Vincent Roussarie, New Acoustic Services specialist, PSA Peugeot Citroёn Research & Development Division. “The acoustic ergonomics enhance interaction with the Peugeot i-Cockpit and makes it easier to keep eyes on the road. The spatialization of sound sources allows the driver to absorb and understand information more effectively and easily.”
Beyond the passenger compartment, the powertrain setup is also drastically different from the iOn. Peugeot’s four-door iOn uses a single 25 kW electric motor and a 16 kilowatt-hours (kwh) lithium manganese oxide battery to achieve its 93-mile range.
The dual motor system on the Fractal mounts an electric motor on both the front and rear axle, each rated at 75 kilowatts. Its battery has been upgraded to a 30-kwh lithium-ion pack, mounted in the central tunnel.
Peugeot is estimating a range of 280 miles for the Fractal, which even if measured on the more-liberal EU NEDC cycle, sounds like it may be an overstatement. While the Tesla Model S 85D has a similar range, it uses a much larger 70-kwh battery to get in that range on NEDC.