Next to this incredible flying car designed by TheArsenale and Renault, even an F1 Espace would pass for a trivial project.
They got us well. As we know, Renault is currently preparing a brand new R5 electric for the year 2023 and the diamond brand is also working on the return of the 4L. So when a mysterious teaser hit the internet on November 15, with a modern front end evoking the style of Renault’s famous popular car, we immediately believed that it had a link with this famous 4L of the era. news. But a few days ago, Hugo Deleglise from TheArsenale invited us to come and discover this mysterious Renault in a studio near Nice. “Be careful, there is a little surprise. It is not at all the car that you think ”. When you come face to face with theAir4, hard to prove him wrong. You found the Renault Clio V6 daring? the Spider singular? THE’F1 space completely crazy ? Alongside this strange flying 4L, all these projects would pass for very classic cars.
It must be said that this strange 4L with a minimalist style and minimalist style does not even have wheels. Each corner of the car connects to a propeller via a carbon fiber arm, with a cell of the same material resting on four small shoes that look a bit like those on a helicopter. This strange machine made entirely of carbon, whose airframe looks like that of a real 4L but in reduction, weighs only 167 kilos on the scale and accommodates only one passenger. On board, once mounted from the rear by tilting the entire bodywork upwards, no steering wheel or joystick: designed as an autonomous flying vehicle, it only displays a small screen in front of the central seat. In front of and behind the seat, four tiny lithium-polymer batteries are used to store the energy needed to power the four electric motors operating the propellers. In theory, the Air4 could fly at an altitude of 700 meters and up to a speed of 90 km / h.
This is what you see once installed in the Air4. The glass surface is small, the machine seems incredibly light and there is no steering wheel or joystick.
A quick commando operation
So much for the theory. The reality of this crazy project is no less romantic: Just ten years ago, Patrice Meignan took part in the Gumball 3000 with a Renault Clio V6 made up in 4L to celebrate the 50 years of the model. A decade later, he and Renault’s communications managers were wondering how to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the 4L with originality. For Patrice Meignan, who firmly believes in the rapid emergence of flying cars, it was the perfect opportunity to mix these two worlds. The diamond brand then gave him a hell of a challenge: build in about 120 days a real flying prototype despite the furiously experimental nature of this technology. TheArsenale company, specializing in extravagant mobility devices, then set to work with two partners. On the one hand, L2 Concept and its Factory Unit division, which have long been building salon concept cars for brands like Toyota, Lexus and Mercedes. On the other, MC Clic Monaco, specialist in drones.
The four engines generate around 400 kg of thrust and theoretically allow to fly for several tens of minutes
After a feasibility study, L2 Concept and Mc Clic Monaco came to the conclusion that such a crazy project on paper was seriously playable in real life. When finished, the Air4 prototype managed to fly a very short distance during tests in Italy. It would obviously be necessary to spend a lot of time in development and spend a colossal budget to refine the development of a machine with such advanced technology. However, the Air4 will rather serve as a show car and will be exhibited from December 9 at the Renault Workshop on the Champs-Elysée.
But by the beginning of the year 2022 after its Parisian exhibition, Patrice Meignan wants to bring him to Miami and intends to fly with. “I love the idea of a Renault 4L capable of really going anywhere when flying in the air. The original 4L was already a symbol of absolute freedom: it was inexpensive and could go anywhere thanks to its robustness. Even today, the students of the 4L Trophy martyr her every year in the Moroccan desert. By losing her wheels, she would become even more capable and adventurous. “, declares a Patrice Meignan whose eyes literally shine as soon as he discusses the theme of flying cars. “There are currently thousands of flying car projects that exist only theoretically and virtually, without a concrete basis. With our small commando team, we managed to build a magnificent and functional prototype in record time. In the medium term, I want to succeed in mobilizing more people and resources to take the next step as quickly as possible. I don’t know when the flying car technology will mature, but I’m sure it all plays out now. “
Difficult to ride with your elbow in the door
On land, however, the future of the Renault 4L is much clearer and more immediate. It will return in the form of a practical and electric small car by 2025 at the latest. Will it do as well as the original model, which to this day remains the best-selling Renault in the world with its more than eight million units? One thing is certain: it will hold the road better than the Air4.