Peugeot is hinting at the future of vehicle interiors with its Fractal concept car which is set to debut later this month at the 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show. The concept doesn’t preview any specific model but it does highlight some of the technologies that will be making its way into the French automaker’s future lineup, namely 3D-printed construction techniques and sophisticated sound systems.
The concept is in the form of a coupe though the roof can be removed for open-top driving, and it features an electric motor at each axle to form its ‘through-the-road’ electric all-wheel-drive system. Each of the motors is rated at 102 horsepower and draws its juice from a 30-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery running through the core of the vehicle.
Power is distributed based on grip to optimize traction and energy recovery. In addition, to take into account weight transfer considerations, the motors have different gear ratios. For example, during off-the-line acceleration, the rear motor kicks in first, with the front-axle motor gradually taking over once the car has picked up speed. Weighing in at just 2,200 pounds, the Fractal accelerates from 0-62 mph in 6.8 seconds.
But it’s the interior that’s been the focus of the design team. It features Peugeot’s i-Cockpit design philosophy where the controls and displays are made as ergonomic and instinctive to use as possible. In this area, the Fractal benefits from things like a head-up display, touch-control surfaces and a compact steering wheel.
Peugeot Fractal concept, 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show
There’s also a special “9.1.2” sound system that creates what Peugeot calls a sound signature. This is a sound that plays when the doors are opened using a smartwatch remote system. But the sound system does more than just welcoming the driver. There's also a "tactile" bass system built into the back of the seats.
Developed by American startup SUBPAC, the system offers a new sensory experience, which allows the bass to travel through a solid medium rather than through the air, meaning the sound waves reach the inner ear through the listener's body. This gives the seat occupant a more intense and exclusive bass experience, without causing unwanted interference in the surrounding environment.
As mentioned earlier, the Fractal also explores new design and manufacturing processes. 3D-printed parts represent more than 80 percent of the interior trim surface. This can be seen directly in the complex patterns used to line the cabin.
The Frankfurt Auto Show gets underway September 15. For more from the show, head to our dedicated hub.