Renault Revives Classic People's Car As Flying EV

Design / 1 Comment

The Renault 4 is back. But without wheels.

Germany made the Beetle, Britain produced the Mini, and France designed and built the Citroen 2CV. These cars will forever be linked to where they originated from, but the 2CV's designation as the "people's car" is perhaps not as deserved as we think. Around 3.8 million were built, but more than 8 million Renault 4Ls were sold.

The Renault 4 never really received the recognition it deserved, but for its 60th anniversary that might change. This after the car's 50th-anniversary celebrations in 2011 included a design competition and a top speed run at the Bonneville Salt Flats.

Following a year of small celebrations across the globe, Renault is now introducing a modern version of the 4, called the Air4. To build the flying people's car, Renault partnered with TheArsenale.


TheArsenale is primarily responsible for the fancy drone you see above. Design-wise, you can see the Renault 4s design language dragged into the 21st century in true restomod style with LED lighting and the brand's new logo. To make it as light as possible, the entire car is made of carbon fiber. If you were hoping for a cheap flying car, this is not it. Hyundai seems the closest to producing an actual flying car, even though it's still a few years away.

The team of engineers already knew it could fly before it was built. Using CAD and artificial intelligence, TheArsenale's engineers were able to run terabytes worth of simulations to fine-tune the design.

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"After a year-long celebration, we wanted to create something unconventional to close up the 60th anniversary of 4L," highlights Arnaud Belloni, Renault Brand Global Marketing Director. "This collaboration with TheArsenale was a natural fit. The flying show car Air4 is something unseen yet and a wink to how this icon could look like in another 60 years."

We're not entirely convinced, however. While we like the design of the car, the bottom part is not as successful. Renault says it has four two-blade propellers, one for each corner of the vehicle. The chassis is set in the middle of what it calls the rota frame. To get inside, you lift the front of the shell. All of these words are just a fancy way of saying it's a reimagined Renault 4 glued to the top of a large drone.

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The performance features are impressive, however. It has a 2,300-foot ceiling and can take off at 45 feet per second. The horizontal top speed is 85 feet per second at 45 degrees, which is roughly 60 mph. The thrust provided is 209 pounds per corner.

"I have dedicated my life to the passion for mobility, and I continually explore all aspects of the moving world," said Patrice Meignan, CEO of TheArsenale. "After 25 years of forward-looking research, we believe that the icons of car culture are eternal, whether on earth or in the air."

If you happen to be in Paris this festive season, you can see the Air4 in person at the Atelier Renault on the Champs Elysées. It's right across the street from the Five Guys.

Renault will be showcasing it in the US in 2022, starting in Miami. We hope this isn't Renault's plan to enter the US market. We'd much rather have a competitor to the Veloster N.

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