To conclude the celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the iconic Renault 4, the French car maker teamed up with TheArsenale to create a futuristic show car, an off-beat, drone reinterpretation of the 4L.
The Renault 4L, an automotive design icon which sold over 8 million units across more than 100 countries over a 30-years production lifetime, was a simple, efficient and versatile vehicle built between 1961 and 1992. Pierre Dreyfus, former Head of Renault Group, once described it as a blue jeans car, and it went on to transport literally everyone: from families to businesses, from the Gendarmerie to La Poste, while also giving the opportunity to young motorist generations to get behind the wheel and be free.
Entirely made with carbon-fibre, the AIR4 follows the 4L familiar lines and shapes, but has been re-engineered to accommodate forces such as thrust and lift that the original car could only have dreamt of. Hours of calculations and tests, drawing on generative design techniques and artificial intelligence, resulted in terabytes of data, every bit of which was carefully modelled and analysed to fine-tune the design.
Instead of wheels, the AIR4 features four two-blade propellers, one at each corner of the vehicle. The body sits in the middle of the rota frame, with the driver gaining access to the cabin by lifting the front-hinged shell.
It’s powered by lithium-polymer batteries that generate a total power of around 90,000 mAh, enough for a horizontal top speed of 26m/s, with a 45° inclination during flights, up to a maximum inclination of 70°. It can fly as high as 700m with a take-off speed of 14m/s, although this is restricted to 4m/s for safety reasons, with a landing velocity of 3m/s. Its propellers generate 95 kg of vertical thrust each for a total of 380 kg.
The AIR4 has been imagined, designed, engineered and assembled at Sophia-Antipolis Technology Park, in the Côte d’Azur.
I have dedicated my life to mobility and I continuously explore all aspects of the moving world. After 25 years of forward-looking research, we started believing that the icons of car culture are eternal, whether on earth or in the air. For 60 years the Renault 4 has been driven by ordinary people who make it extraordinary, it’s a car that symbolises adventure as it’s simple, practical, modern but retro. Most drivers will tell you that it allows you to travel differently and to live any adventure: this ‘travelling different’ inspired both my team and I.
Patrice Meignan, CEO and Founder of TheArsenale
The AIR4 is display at the Atelier Renault on the Champs Elysées, Paris, until the end of the year. In 2022, the AIR4 will travel to Miami, Macao and New York.