Renault Vesta

Renault Vesta 2: the economic concept because of 80 years within 2L / 100km but never sold!

Renault (like all other major manufacturers) knows how to make ultra-economical cars for more than 20 years but does not market them, proof is the VESTA project which is a light car whose engine is largely downsized. Currently with a small dCi, it's a safe bet that Renault would do even better.

Renault Vesta Economy Car

The Renault Vesta (source: Renault)
Main characteristics

- Production date: 1987
- Engine: 3 cylinders 716 cm3
- Weight: 473 kg
- Maximum power: 20 kW (27 hp) at 4 rpm
- Maximum torque: 5,7 mkg at 2 rpm
- Maximum speed (measured by journalists in October 1987): 138,2 km / h
- Minimum consumption (world record at the time): 1,94 l / 100 km at 100,9 km / h average
- Normalized consumption: City: 4,25 l / 100 km and Road: 2,81 l / 100 km.
- Aerodynamics: SCx = 0,304 (Cx: 0,186)

Origin of the Vesta

The Vesta II is the culmination of Renault research into reducing fuel consumption in automobiles during the 1980s.

She succeeded the prototypes Eve and Vesta. The name Vesta stands for Economy Vehicle of Advanced Systems and Technologies.

The research was carried out by the stylist and aerodynamic engineer Gaston Juchet, then Director of Style, and constituted Renault's response to the challenge proposed by the Ministry of Industry in 1980, which called for a car capable of consuming less than 3L / 100 km on average.

Other manufacturers have obviously responded to this offer with in particular for Citroën the ECO2000 project and for Peugeot the VERA.

The following data are those corresponding to the ninth prototype of Vesta the PV9.

The Vesta was never offered for sale and therefore remained in the boxes when the price of energy was more expensive than today, in purchasing power parity.

Aerodynamics pushed (according to Wikipedia)

Renault has taken great care in the aerodynamics of the car to achieve a Cx of 0,186 which is an exceptionally low value.

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In comparison, the “excellent” Cx of a Toyota Prius is 0,26. The world automobile record being held by the Ford Probe V of 1985 with 0,14.

The Cx is linked to consumption at "high" speed (> 60 km / h) because it directly conditions the power required for travel and largely takes precedence over the other powers required for the advancement of a vehicle (crushing tires, acceleration, friction and internal inertia of the engine, etc.)

Aerodynamics Renault Vesta
The Renault Vesta (source: Renault)
The car adopts a truncated teardrop shape at the rear. The greatest width is at the level of the first row of seats, as is the greatest height.

The hood is almost in line with the windshield, inclined at 57 ° to reconcile aerodynamics and visibility. The rear window is vertical. The rear panel extends sidewall, roof and floor by baffles at the shield and tailgate. The floor is streamlined. The sills are extended by hooves placed in front of the rear wheels.

The shields are in polyester reinforced with fiberglass. The tailgate is made of thermoplastic and the glass is glued to it. The doors consist of a metal frame covered with thin sheet metal. The cover is also made of thin sheet metal glued to a composite box.

Aerodynamics Renault Vesta

The Renault Vesta (source: Renault)
Saint Gobain has produced ultra-thin 2 mm glazing glued to the structure and contributing to the overall rigidity. The door panes are of classic thickness. Only the driver's door window has an opening area. This same window incorporates the single exterior mirror.

The air flows in the engine compartment are carefully channeled. A damper automatically regulating the air supply keeps the engine temperature within optimal limits. It oscillates from 90 ° C at full load to 110 ° C at partial load. The sealing of the various parts of the body, and more particularly of the frontal area is pushed to its maximum.

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Aerodynamics Renault Vesta
The Renault Vesta (source: Renault)
Hunting overweight

The mass of the Vesta 2 is only 473 kg.

The total weight saved is about 25% compared to conventionally designed vehicles with equal stiffness and endurance.

Vesta II has been designed to withstand crash tests in 1987.

This weight seems very low compared to current vehicles since a small car like the current Citroën C1 weighs 790 kg to 890 kg empty depending on the version! (source: Citroën).

This constant increase in weight is explained by ever more drastic safety standards (active and passive) as well as an increasingly developed level of technological equipment and options.

A constant base but a variable SCx!

The pneumatic system includes an electric compressor connecting a low pressure tank to a high pressure tank. The system is completed by spheres, comparable to those existing in the Citroën hydropneumatic suspension.

The electronic trim control system keeps the car level and allows it to lower 20mm as speed increases, reducing the SCx.

There are three positions: high: up to 60 km / h, intermediate: from 60 to 100 km / h and low: above 100 km / h.

Engine and performance in consumption

The engine of only 716 cc and 27 hp was considered sufficient to achieve performance equivalent to that of the Supercinq SL! This is the principle of downsizing ahead of time. Learn more about the downsizing.

A three-cylinder engine was preferred to a conventional four-cylinder to reduce friction (as on the current Smart).

Its operation is optimized by various electronic regulation systems to reduce consumption. The weight of each part has been reduced to a minimum, using advanced materials such as aluminum or magnesium.

Engine characteristics

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Type: transversal
Number of cylinders: 3
Number of valves: 6 (2 per cylinder)
Camshaft: at the top
Cylinder capacity: 716cm³
Volumetric report: 10,5: 1
Max power: 20 kW (27 ch) to 4 250 rpm
Max torque: 5,7 mkg to 2 250 rpm
Catalysis: No
Fuel type: RON 97
Carburetor: Special double-barrel carburettor with power cut off during deceleration

Road performance (according to Wikipedia)

The Vesta II drives like a classic sedan. In 1987, it was compared by the press (the Automobile Magazine) to the Supercinq SL (1108 cc, 47 hp, 725 kg), the most economical model in the Renault range. Vesta II is noisy because its soundproofing is more than light. On the first three gears, it is more lively than the Supercinq, the upper gears are long enough to optimize consumption, the Supercinq regains the upper hand in nervousness. The prototype turns perfectly flat in the turns and gives the passengers a good general comfort. In consumption, the difference is obvious between the two cars. The Vesta II consumes about two times less than the Supercinq.

Comparative consumption (in L / 100km):
- at 70 km / h: Vesta 1,75, Supercinq 3,65
- At maximum speed: Vesta 2 3,70 to 138,2 km / h, Supercinq 8,90 to 143,2 km / h
- Standardized: city 4,25 and 7,29, route 2,81 and 5,85

A suite for the Vesta?

To crown it all, despite exceptional performance and innovations, the Vesta II will have no direct descendants in the Renault range, unlike its Citroën equivalent, the Eco2000 project which will give birth to the AX presented in 1986.

Automotive journalists believed in the early 1990s that the minicitadine intended to fit under the Clio would be inspired by research from the Vesta program. This will not be the case, and the Twingo will have no particular economic claims in terms of consumption. It will not benefit either from a sought-after aerodynamics (Cx from 0,335 to 0,342 and Scx from 0,670 to 0,685) and will consume as much as a Supercinq with equivalent power from the 80s!

More: read about current and past economic cars.

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