Peugeot has unveiled their latest hybrid concept, the EXALT. Following on from the strangely copper clad 2012 Onyx Concept which focussed on design for a sports car, the EXALT is in a similar style but aimed at radical design changes to a saloon car.
First seen on Onyx, the distinct line in the bodywork is reinterpreted by the association of bare metal and an efficient textile, Shark Skin, inspired by the unique texture of a shark’s skin.
The remarkable acoustic comfort achieved inside permits the discovery of an array of materials – natural wool-based ‘chiné’ mixed fabric, aged leather, bare steel and ebony – used to finish the cabin. This high end variety of wood takes on its Chinese identity through the design created by the trio PINWU Design agency.
Technology is high on the feature list too, with the Peugeot i-Cockpit, black light, Pure Blue air purifier and all this is powered by Peugeot’s HYbrid4 drivetrain outputting a healthy 340bhp. Maxime Picat, Peugeot Brand CEO, said:
“Peugeot’s 125 year automobile history is punctuated by models that made their mark on their era. With the EXALT Concept, the Brand asserts its position and writes a new chapter. We are moving forward, resolutely and with confidence.”
The drivetrain is all wheel drive, courtesy of the hybrid arrangement yet the vehicle weighs a comparitively lightweight 1,700 kilos. Under the bonnet is the 1.6 litre THP petrol engine, producing 270bhp by itself, developed by Peugeot Sport, the engine has one of the best power to litre ratio’s since the output is nearly 170bhp/litre. A 6-speed automatic gearbox is attached to this providing smooth and effortless driving.
At the rear of the car is the 50kW electric motor providing drive to both wheels and enables the all wheel drive hybrid power. As with nearly all electric drivetrains, regenerative braking is present as you would expect meaning the motor is a conventional motor/generator unit. The drivetrain is more ‘intelligent’ than most, being able to automatically select the most suitable driving mode: pure electric, petrol only or a combination of the two.
The Peugeot i-Cockpit system comprises a small wheel trimmed in leather and ‘chiné’, a natural wool-based mixed fabric, and the digital instrument panel are intuitively arranged in front of the driver for improved operation and reading. On the extended centre console, two folding touch screens emerge from the dashboard. The upper screen gives access to the on board computer and the Hi-Fi and navigation systems. The second screen presents a permanently visible control bar to provide access to the automatic air conditioning and the Pure Blue system.
Nine Toggle Switches are located on the dashboard and are arranged in two groups, two to the left of the small steering wheel, seven to the right. This distribution was adopted because of the human brain’s ability to easily remember up to seven elements, for their position and their function. In a neat move of customisation, the driver is able to assign various functions at their discretion to each toggle switch such as access to navigation, vehicle settings, black light and much more.
The point of the black light system is to increase road observation and visibility during the twilight hours between day and night when it has been shown to be the most dangerous time to drive.
Rather pointlessly, the Pure Blue system is a technology whereby the cabin is purified by spreading a combination of anti-bacterial and anti-fungal sprays. Fear not though, the system only operates when the vehicle is empty and stationary! Once the vehicle is moving again, an active filter treats the air before it enters the cabin, eliminating VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and fine particles. So in all circumstances the occupants travel in a purified environment. How the system copes with people being people and getting in and out of the vehicle as well as opening windows on warm days, we’re not so sure…
All in all, the EXALT concept is a nice addition to the long line of exciting Peugeot concepts. It tries new technologies that may never see the light of day, literally, such as Black Light and aims to add a little “je ne sais quoi” to the stale design of saloon cars.