Most concept cars typically feature advanced petrol engines, hybrid powerplants (electric motor + small petrol engine) or some alternative-fuelled powerplant which runs on hydrogen. Not so common in such futuristic cars is a diesel engine.
But as if to reinforce the belief that the diesel engine remains a practical powerplant in years to come, Peugeot has used it for its latest concept model known as the Promethee. It’s just an engine – could be any type – but the fact that they used a diesel makes some kind of statement. Furthermore, they chose their environment-friendly HDi unit which has a special filter to prevent those sooty particles of combustion from getting into the air.
While the engine remains conventional, the rest of the Promethee is futuristic, giving an idea of how a dual-purpose Peugeot stationwagon may look in, say, 2020. The frontal presentation is familiar and yet another evolution of the nose we see in the 206 and includes those almond-shaped headlamps. The metallic grey bodywork incorporates door frames machined from solid metal and a windscreen that extends well into the bonnet surface. At the top of the windscreen, a transverse member beneath the glass supports it while the glass continues on into the roof right up to a point over the back of the front seats.
For this model, a lot of attention was given to exploring the door design. An interesting solution is shown using three doors and a tailgate. The opening and closing of the doors is motorised and operation is by an infrared remote controller.
The single door on the left side slides forward and backwards so that it allows access to the driver’s seat as well. Slim in construction, this door has an electric window which slides longitudinally over the other fixed half.
On the right is the other door, the front part of which swings with the rear part sliding. The rear door, with a generously-proportioned glass window, can also be opened by remote control.
Inside the Promethee, which has an overall length of 4180 mm and an overall width of 1910 mm, there is space for only four people due to the use of bucket seats in the rear. But in keeping with the versatility of stationwagons, the rear backrests can be folded down to expand luggage space. Folding is done electrically and when lowered, they lie flat.
The absence of a spare wheel makes it possible to have a split-level boot space. The first compartment is situated at loading level and extends forward horizontally as far as the folded rear backrests. The second compartment, on the lower level, takes the form of two groups of storage spaces accommodating a set of specially-adapted aluminium cases which have flaps over them.
Dashboard designs are not likely to change, if we are the take the Promethee’s interior design as an example, although many elements will become more electronic in nature. There will be more sophisticated navigation services and telematics with in-car entertainment using DVDs.