At the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, Peugeot debuted its innovative new i-Cockpit design with the release of the SR1, a strikingly pretty convertible hybrid concept car. Since then, we’ve seen the inventive concept put in to practice inside the Peugeot 208 hatchback. Essentially, the i-Cockpit boils down to the idea of synchronising a car’s interior environment with the driver’s senses, an idea underpinned by some rather baffling sensory techno-babble.
Whatever the scientific hypothesis behind it, sales of the 208 have been good enough to encourage Peugeot to delve deeper into the i-Cockpit project. The latest manifestation of this comes wrapped up in a forward-thinking new concept coupé, the Peugeot Fractal.
Roughly the same size as a 208, the Fractal concept is an electric powered urban coupé-cum-cabriolet that showcases the latest evolution of the i-Cockpit model, a design that explores, amplifies and twists the boundaries of sound.
Developed in conjunction with world-renowned musicians and sound designers, the Peugeot Fractal concept features a sophisticated ‘9.1.2’ sound system whose arsenal of cutting edge speakers located at precise points throughout the cabin simulates the human ear. In a world first, a two-channel tactile bass system is incorporated into the back of each seat and the cutting-edge use of acoustics doesn’t end there. When using the on-board satnav, a synthesised voice is projected from the network of speakers to give the impression that it is coming from some distance in front of the car. As the Fractal moves ahead, this voice begins to moves toward the cabin in almost ghostly fashion and indicates a turnoff by shifting its tones to the appropriate side of the car.
Unlike some other EVs, the Fractal doesn’t give other road users the silent treatment and instead adopts its own changeable sound signature depending on whether the driver’s foot is to the floor or if the car is cruising to a halt.
Elsewhere, more than 80% of the interior trim surface is made up of state-of-the art 3D printed components including the steering wheel which features a touchpad integrated into each of its two spokes. A polycarbonate arm arches up from the centre console displaying a high-definition holographic HUD.
Power comes from the mid-mounted 30kW/h lithium-ion battery which in turn fires a pair of electric motors mated to the front and rear axles. Altogether, the Fractal boasts 204bhp and enough stamina to take it up to 280miles on a single charge. Put your foot down and the rear motor will push the coupé from 0 to 62mph in a highly respectable 6.8 seconds after which point the front-mounted unit gradually takes over the strain.
The Fractal concept comes equipped with 19 inch wheels and a customisable ride height setting which varies its ground clearance between 7cm and 11cm, taking both the motorway and the speed bump-ridden inner city rat-run in its stride.
The science behind the new Peugeot Fractal coupé concept may be devilishly complex, however the overall idea is without doubt admirably ambitious in its scope. The Fractal is plainly not about to go into production tomorrow but who’s to say that some of this sensory wizardry won’t ultimately filter its way down to Peugeot dealership near you in the not too distant future?