French cars can sometimes be a bit polarizing. Some of the decisions French automakers make can seem a little out there for someone used more sober German or Japanese cars. But the same kind of thinking that leads to weird production cars also leads to really excellent concept cars. Concepts are supposed to be weird, and are supposed to challenge our notions of what a car should be, and the French do that sort of thing really well, even if it isn’t always intentional. Peugeot’s new Fractal concept is a gloriously weird two-tone electric convertible.

The purpose of the concept is to show the direction that Peugeot plans to take the i-Cockpit infotainment system. Peugeot is very proud of this system, and to be fair, it does represent a significant leap forward in the design and implementation of these kinds of systems, especially when you consider that it’s being fitted to not especially expensive cars. The Fractal is therefore a car that was designed from the inside out, and as wild as the exterior looks, the interior is completely bonkers, a testament to just how crazy you can go with an interior if you don’t have to worry about actually selling the car.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2015 Peugeot Fractal concept.

  • 2015 Peugeot Fractal
  • Year:
    2015
  • Make:
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    204
  • 0-60 time:
    6.8 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2015 Peugeot Fractal High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Peugeot Fractal High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Peugeot Fractal High Resolution Exterior
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The Fractal was was designed to give the occupants the best listening experience possible in a car, so much of the exterior of the car was designed to keep outside noise out. This even included making taller and skinnier tires to reduce the contact patch, something that was also done to improve efficiency.

The doors are hinged on the rear, and can be opened from a smart watch app.

The paint scheme is a very simple but still striking idea, combining a very glossy white with a matte black. Many of the sound-deadening features blend into the black in such a way that they aren’t quite so obvious. LEDs adorn the exterior in several places. They serve as turn signals and a set on the rear of the car serve as a giant charging indicator when the car is plugged in.

The doors are hinged on the rear, and can be opened from a smart watch app. Peugeot suggests the Samsung Gear S, even though you can’t actually buy the car. The watch can also control the air conditioning system and stereo, although why you would need to control the stereo from outside the car isn’t at all clear.

Accent strips in the front fenders are adorned with a French flag color scheme. They don’t serve a purpose, but hey, concept car. The rear end of the car is somewhat disproportionately large, but that’s not unusual for a small car with a folding roof and a back seat. It’s all thoroughly enjoyable, even when it is in no way practical.

Interior

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A little bit of background before we get into the crazy Bond villain lair that is the interior of this car. Peugeot’s i-Cockpit system is actually several different components brought together to make better use of the newest technology. A big touchscreen has replaced nearly all of the center controls on the models that use the system, and a second screen in the gauge cluster provides addition information. Head-up displays are used to reduce distracted driving, and Peugeot makes a big deal out of the fact that the steering wheel is smaller than it has been in previous incarnations.

The materials used for the interior are meant to invoke a sort of combination concert hall and recording studio, complete with copious soundproofing.

The Fractal is meant to take this thinking even further, with an emphasis on the absolute bleeding edge of stereo design and technology. Peugeot says that about 80 percent of the car was made in a 3D printer, in order to create shapes that would have been impossible by other means. The materials used for the interior are meant to invoke a sort of combination concert hall and recording studio, complete with copious soundproofing. The look is pretty outrageous, but again, this is in a thoroughly enjoyably crazy way.

The wooden wrap-around dash is unbroken by the usual displays and controls, with all of these being moved to an arch coming from the side of the steering wheel to the center console just in front of the arm rest. This makes for some odd and possibly awkward placement of some of the buttons, not to mention having to look all of the way down to control the stereo. But a few steps have been taken to address this issue. The gauge cluster has been replaced by one giant 12.3-inch HD screen that can be customized to show different information. The buttons on the genuinely bizarre steering wheel have been replaced with touchscreens as well.

The stereo is described as a 9.1.2 system. The 9.1 part is pretty standard, describing the car’s nine speakers and single subwoofer. But the last 2 is something else altogether. This is to denote the two bass speakers mounted inside the front seats. These aren’t regular speakers either, these are a new kind of speaker developed by American company Subpac.

These speakers don’t transmit sound though the air, but instead reach the listener’s inner ear by way of traveling through his body, theoretically giving the listener a solid bass experience without polluting the surrounding environment. It sounds crazy, but you’re unlikely to find many audiophiles that aren’t intrigued by it.

Drivetrain

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As with a lot of far-out futuristic concepts these days, the Fractal is electric. It’s not an especially powerful car, coming in at 204 horsepower split equally between the two motors, but the motors are mounted one each on the front and rear axles, making the car all-wheel-drive. Peugeot claims a 0-60 time of 6.8 seconds, which isn’t supercar fast but is in the acceptable range for mainstream cars.

Range is listed as being 280 miles, which is definitely in the upper areas of electric car capabilities. The ride height is adjustable from between 7cm and 11cm to make for better freeway driving while still allowing the car to get over speed bumps with relative ease.

Drivetrain Specifications

Type 102 HP electric motors, one on each axle
Combined output 204 HP
Driving range 280 miles
0 to 60 mph 6.8 seconds

Conclusion

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Not many cars have been made with such a strong emphasis on the stereo and listening experience. High end cars will often include impressive systems, and some like the 2016 Audi Q7 really go to a lot of trouble with speaker placement and fine tuning the system. But the Fractal has an interior designed around the stereo, rather than the other way around, and that makes it different. Of course, quite a few other things make the Fractal different, but the stereo is what sets the car apart from even other concepts. The rest of the car isn’t bad either, wacky in all of the ways that you want a concept to be, but the stereo could potentially be a preview of technology that’s actually coming to production cars. At least we hope it is.

  • Leave it
    • skinny tires and heavy batteries always mean crap handling
    • touchscreen thumb controls on the wheel are a terrible idea
    • never, ever, ever going to actually exist

Press Release

First unveiled on the SR1 concept car in 2010, the PEUGEOT i-Cockpit® has already won over more than 1.8 million customers since making its market debut on the 208 in 2012. With its innovative ergonomics, the cockpit provides instinctive driving and enhances the experience behind the wheel.

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PEUGEOT FRACTAL is an electric urban coupé revealing a prospective design of the PEUGEOT i Cockpit® that explores another of the senses: following on from visual; sight, embodied by the head-up display, and touch; with the compact steering wheel and touchscreen, PEUGEOT FRACTAL showcases unprecedented attention to acoustics in automotive design. The result is a level of auditory perception that further enriches the driving experience.

PEUGEOT FRACTAL also features a sound signature created by sound designer Amon Tobin, which plays when the driver opens the doors using the smartwatch remote system. What follows is a unique electric coupé driving experience offering a wealth of sensory exploration.

The simultaneous launches of the ‘8’ range and the PEUGEOT i-Cockpit® gave fresh impetus to the Brand. The PEUGEOT i-Cockpit® is a distinguishing feature of our vehicles. It transforms the driving experience, making it more instinctive, and amplifies driving sensations.
Maxime Picat, PEUGEOT Brand Director

The PEUGEOT i-Cockpit® has garnered a real following among customers by offering a tangible improvement in driving pleasure. The PEUGEOT FRACTAL project explores new possibilities by further enhancing the cockpit experience through the use of sound to enrich information and enhance driving pleasure.
Jérôme Micheron, PEUGEOT Strategy Director

PEUGEOT FRACTAL overview

FRACTAL is an electric urban coupé revealing a prospective design for the PEUGEOT i Cockpit® that explores the sense of hearing in addition to sight and touch. It makes driving even more instinctive, creating an unparalleled on-board experience.

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The StelLab* is a PSA Peugeot Citroën research unit that has designed an innovative ‘9.1.2’** sound system combining a high-quality set-up that features tactile bass systems built into the back of each seat to make driving all the more instinctive, enriching information through the use of acoustics. This additional PEUGEOT i-Cockpit® feature is characterised by the ‘spatialisation’ and ‘dynamisation’ of sound.

PEUGEOT FRACTAL has an interior and exterior identity developed for the first time in partnership with sound designer Amon Tobin. In the city, the car is in sync with its environment.

The head-up display features a high-definition holographic screen and a 45-degree polycarbonate strip that delivers additional information and creates an impression of depth. This allows the driver to customise the way information is shown.

FRACTAL is an ideas incubator that explores new design and manufacturing processes. 3D-printed parts represent more than 80% of the interior trim surface. The anechoic materials were made through generative design - an incremental, stochastic process used to achieve the perfect component.

The 30kW/h lithium-ion battery powers the electric motors on the front and rear axles to provide a total output of 150kW/204hp and combined-cycle autonomy of up to 450km.

Variable ground clearance allows the vehicle to adapt to different types of terrain. The 7cm clearance for motorway driving improves aerodynamics to range and boost battery life. This can be increased to 11cm in urban environments, allowing the car to take speed humps and car park entrances in its stride.

* Established in 2010, the Science Technologies Exploratory Lean Laboratory (StelLab) is a scientific partnership management organisation comprising a network of PSA Peugeot Citroën experts and academics from countries around the world, including France, Switzerland, Poland, Spain, Brazil, the United States and China. Its main goal is to identify and develop new technologies and innovations for tomorrow’s motor vehicles.

** ‘9.1.2’ is the numerical explanation for the effect of the number of speakers, bass-boxes and other sound systems contained within the vehicle.

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PEUGEOT FRACTAL: an electric urban coupé

PEUGEOT FRACTAL negotiates city streets with ease, always in sync with its environment. The car is extremely compact, at 3.81m long and 1.77m wide, allowing it to weave through heavy traffic. The 19” Tall&Narrow wheels are positioned at either end of the car, with an overhang of just 0.52m front and back to maximise space utilisation and improve manoeuvrability.

PEUGEOT FRACTAL strikes a natural balance and features an electric drive train enabling a new architecture. All components are positioned with efficiency in mind. The lithium-ion batteries are housed in the central tunnel, which lowers the centre of gravity and improves weight distribution. They power two electric motors, each delivering 75kW/102hp, fitted to the front and rear axles. The drive train enhances the aerodynamics of the car, an improvement reflected in the smaller intakes at the front, with less air needed for cooling.

The FRACTAL’s styling also embodies the car’s ease in an urban environment, which is reflected in the dynamic lines that flow along the length of the smooth body. The Coupe Franche finish further enhances the sense of vitality with a sharp shift from intense pearly white to matt black at the door hinges. The upper body features a removable roof to turn the coupé into a cabriolet.

An LED strip above the vent at the rear shows the battery charge status via an equalizer-type display. These LEDs also act as rear lights when PEUGEOT FRACTAL is moving. The light signature in the front starts below the grille and flows over the headlamps. It also includes scrolling indicators.

PEUGEOT FRACTAL is perfectly at home in the city. The already-low noise levels achieved by the electric drive system are further improved by the Tall&Narrow tyres, with their narrow tread. To achieve the highest standards in acoustic performance, the wheels feature dihedral components to attenuate aerodynamic noise. Based on anechoic chambers, these additions reduce the intensity of sound waves, and therefore their noise levels, by causing them to bounce from one surface to another. This type of design is impossible to produce using conventional methods and was achieved through 3D printing.

PEUGEOT FRACTAL has a unique sound signature to keep it in sync with other road users, especially pedestrians and cyclists: any pedestrians about to step out into the road without looking will be alerted to the PEUGEOT FRACTAL’s presence.

The concept also makes everyday life easier for the vehicle owner through the use of a Samsung Gear S smartwatch, which provides continuous information on the status of the battery, charging time, interior temperature and vehicle location. The watch gives the driver one-touch access to open the doors and customise interior features such as the air conditioning and sound system.

PEUGEOT i-Cockpit®: amplifying the senses

The PEUGEOT i-Cockpit® offers an unparalleled experience combining instinctive ergonomics with an unprecedented ambience. The choice of materials is inspired by auditoriums and recording studios: black oak decorates the instrument panel, door panels and bucket seats; copper trim reminiscent of audio connections runs through the interior, with 3D-printed anechoic motifs enhancing acoustic comfort. A 3D textile mesh covers the seats and is offset by white leather trim.

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To ensure constant control, the driver’s seat provides kinaesthetic feedback based on the FRACTAL’s handling. The intuitive, compact steering wheel features a touchpad integrated into each of its two spokes. These thumb-controlled sensors control a range of FRACTAL’s functions and equipment.

The head-up display provides a holographic eye-level digital readout with a 45-degree polycarbonate strip delivering additional information. Drivers can customise the 12.3” HD digital display to suit individual preferences. The tilted polycarbonate strip gives added depth by showing information on a 7.7” AMOLED screen.

There are also toggle switches within easy reach on the arches on either side of the steering wheel. The right hand arch also houses the controls to activate the electric drive system. The 7.7” AMOLED touchscreen built into the centre console can be used to control all FRACTAL functions. Passengers in the rear also have a panel allowing them to adjust their immediate surroundings.

PEUGEOT FRACTAL is an ideas incubator that explores the use of 3D printing to create shapes that cannot be obtained through any other process. The resulting parts and components represent more than 80% of the interior surfaces and offer a combination of new styling and real functionality. The touchpad wires run through the spokes of the compact steering wheel.

The anechoic surfaces cover more than 15 square metres of the cabin interior and were produced by generative design. The computing power of today’s machines makes it possible to explore all variations of shapes and structures for a given part. Generative design recreates the natural evolutionary process through the use of algorithms to create efficient shapes and develop the perfect part in each case. PEUGEOT FRACTAL uses just the right amount of material to ensure acoustic efficiency.

This is the first time that a concept car design has incorporated sound to such an extent. PEUGEOT FRACTAL also innovates by bringing materials first seen on the ONYX to the B segment. 3D printing and the use of generative design ensure the highest standards in efficiency.
Matthias Hossann, Head of Concept Cars & Advanced Design at PEUGEOT

Innovative use of sound for an instinctive driving experience

This prospective PEUGEOT i-Cockpit® design gives hearing its rightful place alongside sight and touch, since people rely on all three of these senses to negotiate their immediate environment. FRACTAL features an innovative 9.1.2 sound system and acoustic design.

Drivers need to process an increasing amount of information within their vehicle, which demands more and more attention. The acoustic ergonomics enhance interaction with the PEUGEOT i-Cockpit® and makes it easier to keep eyes on the road. The spatialisation of sound sources allows the driver to absorb and understand information more effectively and easily.
Vincent Roussarie, New Acoustic Services specialist, PSA Peugeot Citro?n Research & Development Division

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StelLab is a PSA PEUGEOT CITROËN research unit that has designed an innovative 9.1.2 sound system and related software to provide a completely immersive experience. This digital sound technology simulates the human ear. Sound sources are created virtually and their location projected to enhance the information conveyed to the driver.

When the navigation system is in use, the synthesised voice appears to come from some distance in front of the car. As the vehicle travels along, the source moves toward the cabin and shifts to the side to which the car needs to turn. At intersections, it is positioned in close proximity, inside the car, to alert the driver to an immediate change of direction.

Spatialisation ensures that the sound matches the morphology and path of the vehicle. The system developed by StelLab configures the different sound sources separately for the FRACTAL’s coupé and cabriolet modes.

To tap its full potential, the 9.1.2 installation features a 9.1 system comprising, in the front, three mid/high-range speakers, two tweeters, two woofers and a subwoofer, and, in the back, two mid-range speakers, two tweeters and a woofer. Leading French high-end audio specialist FOCAL also created the linen-fibre membrane for the speakers to render sound faithfully.

In addition, the PEUGEOT FRACTAL features a world premiere by incorporating a two-channel tactile bass system into the back of each seat. This revolutionary set-up is reflected in the name: 9.1.2.

Developed by SUBPAC, an American start-up, the tactile bass 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.

PEUGEOT FRACTAL also infuses the electric drive train with its own acoustic identity, a world away from any associations with internal combustion engines. PEUGEOT brought in Brazilian sound designer Amon Tobin to rise to this specific challenge. The PEUGEOT FRACTAL’s external sound signature keeps it in sync with other road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists, who are alerted to the car’s presence by different sounds specific to the vehicle’s status: acceleration, deceleration and cruising speed.

The interior conveys the PEUGEOT identity through an original audio design that gives ‘voice’ to functions such as the ignition, indicators, hazards, lights and various navigation features.

PEUGEOT FRACTAL is the fruit of collaboration between artists exploring new horizons. We worked with the designers to pool our resources of inspiration. The style is inspired by the sound, and my design draws on the PEUGEOT FRACTAL’s looks and materials.
Amon Tobin, musician and sound designer

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The way in which spatialisation and the quality of this installation enhance the driving experience is evident in Amon Tobin’s acoustic set-up. PEUGEOT FRACTAL is unique, the result of the successful collaboration between the artist and the PEUGEOT Design team.

A high-performance electric drive train

The electric drive train optimises aerodynamics and includes features unprecedented in the segment. The PEUGEOT FRACTAL’s overall balance has been improved by installing the lithium-ion battery in the central tunnel. This reduces the vehicle’s weight and lowers its centre of gravity.

The 30kW/h battery powers two 75kW/102hp electric motors, one on each axle, and offers a Combined Drive Cycle potential distance of 280miles.

The system manages power output according to driving conditions. The 150kW/204hp is distributed based on grip to optimise traction and energy recovery. In addition, to take into account weight transfer considerations, the electric motors have different gear ratios. During acceleration in the 0-62mile range, the rear motor kicks in first, with the front-axle motor gradually taking over beyond 62mph.

The four-wheel-drive FRACTAL has electric assisted steering to ensure outstanding efficiency in the city and stability at high speed. The air springs can function automatically or be controlled by the driver to adjust ground clearance between 7cm and 11cm: the lowest position optimises aerodynamics on the road and extends the cars’s autonomy; the highest clearance allows the car to negotiate city streets with ease and take speed humps and car park entrances in its stride.

Weighing in at just 1,000kg, PEUGEOT FRACTAL goes from 0 to 62mph in 6.8 seconds while offering a new sensory experience for the ears, and can cover 1,000metres from a standing start in 28.8 seconds.

In conclusion, PEUGEOT FRACTAL offers a glimpse of the future for the PEUGEOT i-Cockpit® to create an even more instinctive, enjoyable driving experience. The new urban electric coupé finds fresh inspiration in sound to add hearing to the ongoing exploration of sight and touch.

Follow all the latest news at #PEUGEOTFRACTAL

ABOUT PEUGEOT

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The PEUGEOT brand can trace its roots back to 1810. It was in 1890 that it began producing combustion-engine automobiles. Since then, over 65 million vehicles have been produced. Demonstrated through its Brand signature ‘Motion & Emotion’, PEUGEOT is present in 160 countries, has 10,000 franchised Dealers and is recognised for the quality and design excellence of its products.

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