Peugeot BB1... Cleverer Than Smart?

Peugeot BB1
French manufacturer uses the Frankfurt motor show to unveil its vision for the inner-city commuter of the future. This year's Frankfurt motor show is graced by a horde of eco-friendly commuters (no surprises there), and one of the more offbeat contenders is Peugeot's radically styled BB1. The miniscule box on wheels measures just 2.5m in length (about 200mm shorter than a current-generation smart fortwo), yet it's able to accommodate four occupants.

The zero-emission, electric-powered vehicle has a range of 120km and Peugeot claims it "reinvents the automobile in every way". There's more than an element of hype in this boast, but the BB1 does nonetheless pioneer some clever tech. Its maker says the design brief for the BB1 was to meet the mobility needs of everyday individuals on a daily basis and provide maximum versatility, a compact size, manoeuvrability (3.5m turning circle) and good performance levels.

Fitting four people in a car that measures just 2.5m long is no mean feat, and Peugeot is billing the achievement as a world-first. The company says it harnessed maximum packaging efficiency by conceiving a passenger compartment that draws inspiration from two-wheeled vehicles in terms of its ergonomics and controls.

The driver controls the vehicle by adopting a novel driving position -- more vertical than is usual. This is made possible largely through the absence of foot pedals, as in a conventional car. There's a scooter-like handlebar (with throttle and brake controls) where you'd normally find a steering wheel.

Access to the vehicle is through the reverse-opening doors, while the load area access is through an innovative tail-board/tailgate design. The interior can be transformed as required to offer a load volume of up to 160 litres (with four occupants), or 855 litres (with just one person in the car). The funky exterior design makes use of full-LED headlights and rear-view cameras that negate the need for mirrors. The 'double bubble roof', similar to the RCZ, is said to create a feeling of spaciousness within the cabin, and large side windows help in this regard.

Propulsion comes from two electric motors mounted in the rear wheels, designed in association with Michelin. A pair of lithium-ion battery packs is housed under the rear seats, providing a touring range of 120km. The electric motors produce 15kW, enabling the BB1 to accelerate from 0-30km/h in 2.8sec, and in-gear acceleration is also respectable (Peugeot claims it dispatches the 30-60km/h increment in 4 seconds). The body is made up of a very light carbonfibre structure that can be configured in a number of shapes, and it contributes to an all-up weight of under 600kg.

Further efficiency gains come from solar panels that provide a yield of around 16 per cent of energy captured (claimed to be much higher than current systems) to power some of the vehicle's systems (such as the ventilation system). Check out the Carsales Network's Frankfurt show preview and brand-by-brand summaries. And stay tuned for more Frankfurt show news and first drives in the days to come.

Peugeot BB1
Peugeot BB1

Peugeot BB1
Peugeot BB1

Peugeot BB1
Peugeot BB1

Peugeot BB1
Peugeot BB1

Peugeot BB1
Peugeot BB1



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