A NEW ECOLOGICAL AND ATTRACTIVE TAKE ON
THE ESSENTIAL CAR
CitroŽn is unveiling C-Cactus at the 2007
Frankfurt Motor Show. This ingenious concept is a new take on vehicle
design, centered on essential values. The Marque's ambitious aim is to
market an ecological hatchback with cheerful, attractive styling,
equipped with a hybrid HDi drivetrain and sold at the same price as an
At the 2008 Paris Motor
Show, CitroŽn announced the creation of a project based on this concept
To square this complex equation, CitroŽn is
exploring new forms of design. It has decided to abandon features that
are not essential to comfort and to focus instead on technology,
styling and equipment that are positive, ecological and valued by users.
Essential, intelligent and ecologically
C-Cactus is an ecological car. It includes a
significant proportion of recycled or recyclable materials and, like
the plant it is named after, it is low on consumption. Weighing just
1,109 kg and featuring a hybrid HDi drivetrain, C-Cactus consumes
2.9 l/100 km for CO2 emissions of 78 g/km.
At the same time, C-Cactus is no more expensive than a mid-range family
car. Its low production cost can be attributed to the use of new
materials and to a rational design process using a smaller number of
parts. The cabin is made up of just over 200 parts, i.e. almost half
the number used by a conventional hatchback of identical size.
An attractive and modern vehicle
C-Cactus is an essential car, with sharp styling and attractive
features. Its curves give it a fun look and strong appeal, while the
angles and rounded lines of the bodywork underline its dynamic
C-Cactus sets high standards of onboard comfort with a roomy interior
that is worthy of a family car. It is 4.2 metres long and 1.8 metres
wide with a wide range of equipment including air conditioning with
automatic temperature control, a high-quality audio system, a panoramic
glass sunroof, cruise control and a speed limiter.
Essential, intelligent and ecologically aware
The economic and ingenious solutions adopted for
C-Cactus keep production costs down and make it possible to fit a
diesel hybrid drivetrain, all for the price of an entry-level C4. To
achieve this result, C-Cactus places the emphasis on equipment that is
essential to passenger comfort. At the same time, it explores new
design processes in order to show that economy and ecology need not be
synonymous with a rough ride.
New avenues in design
C-Cactus is the result of an intelligent design process
pursuing new objectives. By exploring new forms of expression and new
technical solutions, CitroŽn's engineers cut the number of parts
required to build the car.
To achieve this objective, the engineers:
simplified a number of parts and mechanisms to the
grouped several functions in a single part,
removed all parts that are non-essential to the
running of the car or to the comfort and well-being of its occupants.
The dashboard has gone, and its usual functions are now
grouped on the central console and the fixed hub of the steering wheel.
The central console thus includes the active loudspeakers, gearbox
controls and tactile screen giving access to the onboard computer,
navigation system and air conditioning controls. The controls for the
indicators, lights, wipers, horn and cruise control/speed limiter are
on the fixed hub of the steering wheel, as are the tachometer and
lights for the indicators, headlamps and warning signals.
Another example of simplification: the part used for the
front bumper, which includes the headlamps and chevrons is the same as
the part making up the lower part of the tailgate at the rear. This
contributes to the assertive design of C-Cactus while bringing
economies of scale in production.
This simplicity is also reflected in the design of the
front end, which comprises just two parts: a fixed bonnet comprising
the front wings, and a flap giving access to the vehicle maintenance
functions (oil, windscreen washer, etc.).
Reflecting a similar approach, using the air
conditioning makes it virtually unnecessary to open the windows. A
simple sliding mechanism is therefore provided, since this is
sufficient in normal use. Engineers were thus able to get rid of both
the window frames and the opening mechanism.
At the same time, a number of monoblock units are used
for C-Cactus to reduce the overall number of parts.
The door panels, for example, are made of two parts,
compared with twelve in a conventional hatchback.
The seats also comprise two parts: a highly comfortable,
moulded, coloured, integral-skin foam part for the seat, and a solid
monoblock frame to hold the foam in place and fix the seat to the floor
rails. The ergonomics are excellent and – here again – the number of
components is limited.
Advanced ecological features
To achieve real environmental impact, CitroŽn's
objective has always been to market technologies and vehicles that are
affordable to the greatest number. The objective with C-Cactus is to go
one step further, by bringing out a car whose hybrid HDi drivetrain
makes it truly ecological car, but that can be sold at the same price
as an entry-level family car.
With its diesel hybrid drivetrain combining a 70 bhp DIN
HDi diesel engine with a particulate filter and an electric motor
providing additional power of 30 bhp DIN, C‑Cactus consumes just
2.9 l/100 km with CO2 emission levels of 78 g/km over
a combined cycle. In urban use, ZEV (Zero Emission Vehicle)
mode provides silent, all-electric operation. On journeys involving
successive acceleration and deceleration, the hybrid system limits fuel
consumption by using both types of energy.
Other points also help to make C-Cactus a car that respects the
The solutions adopted for the design of C-Cactus also contribute to
bringing down fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Using
fewer parts makes the vehicle 15% lighter than a C4 Hybride HDi for a
total weight of 1,109 kg.
The tyre width has also been kept down (205/45 R21) on C-Cactus, which
adds to environmental performance.
Fewer parts also means smaller quantities of raw materials. In additon,
a significant part of the materials used are recycled or recyclable.
The windscreen and windows, for example, are made of recyclable glass.
The tyres are also recyclable, as is the crude steel used for the door
panels. This metal is unpainted and unvarnished but has been treated
The protective mats are made of recycled leather, taken from leather
cut-offs that cannot be used by conventional tanneries. Many parts are
made of cork, a natural material made from the bark of oak trees. The
felt used for the door panels and fascia stowage compartments is made
from wool. This material uses no chemical additives and is both
recyclable and biodegradable.
The top speed of C-Cactus has deliberately been capped at 150 kph. This
choice not only contributes to the car's good environmental
performance, it also reflects CitroŽn's efforts to develop a green
vehicle illustrating a new approach to the car, in which the motorist
is in harmony with his/her surrounding environment.
A modern car with appeal
Based on the bold but rational use of parts and
materials, C-Cactus is an essential vehicle reflecting a new vision of
the car focused on:
a new balance of priorities, and a design that
pursues the essential without sacrificing comfort,
a design in which ecology and economy are synonymous not with dullness,
but with expression and pleasure.
Through this attractive concept with its appealing
offbeat styling, CitroŽn has developed a new take on the economical and
ecological car. A vehicle at ease with its original and ingenious
design. At the same time, this is a car that brings the occupants all
the features essential for their comfort.
Looking for simplicity: intelligent, fun exterior
C-Cactus has a unique personality: appealing, modern and
offbeat, with its simple shapes and mix of round, curving lines. The
original styling also reflects ingenious design choices. Throughout the
design process, the focus was very much on simplicity. This led to the
development of ingenious solutions that contribute to the attractive
offbeat design of C-Cactus.
At the front, the headlamps of C-Cactus give the vehicle an appealing
air with their rounded and slightly angular forms. They are underlined
by two cylindrical air intakes cut out of the bumper, above an air
intake grille of modern design which, while contributing to the
vehicle's rounded forms, also adds a muscular energetic touch. The
raised bonnet and two air intakes also contribute to the dynamic looks
The vehicle's rounded forms are reflected in its profile. The dynamic
design lines are accentuated by the forward flowing roof line and the
asymmetric doors made of crude steel that has been treated for
The doors feature an original cut-out since the fixed windows remove a
number of the constraints that usually apply to design. Shaped to
provide easy access to the interior, they give C-Cactus a curving,
sleekly muscled appearance. The use of crude steel treated for
corrosion, but without paint or varnish, contributes to savings in
production costs while giving a strong, contemporary look.
The high waistline and 21-inch wheels also underline the strong
character of C‑Cactus.
The wheels were the focus of particular attention. Large-diameter
wheels and low-profile tyres have become key styling features in
vehicles of strong, contemporary design.
CitroŽn worked with Michelin on the development of low-profile tyres
with a large diameter and limited width. The low ground friction area
limits fuel consumption and, at the same time, tyre production costs
are kept under control since the manufacturing process requires only a
small amount of rubber.
For new and even more original styling, these specially designed tyres
feature a green pattern on a white background printed inside a wide
groove spanning the entire tread.
The same styling codes can be seen at the rear, where a combination of
curves and taut lines illustrate the car's dynamic and appealing
personality. The chevrons identify this car as a CitroŽn. The name
"Cactus" appears in relief on the bottom of the tailgate, in a young,
smooth, modern printface.
The rear lights, which resemble the headlamps in shape, boast an
innovative feature: cut-outs in the interior plastic that let the
driver see through. This innovation considerably increases the driver's
field of vision and may be particularly useful in manoeuvres, for
Fewer features for greater impact: a welcoming,
attractive and cleverly designed interior
C-Cactus is also an original and ingenious car on the
inside. The design cut-outs, choice of materials, patterns and colours
give the cabin a minimalist, attractive and airy look.
The cabin materials reflect innovative choices. Their quality is
immediately visible. Looking beyond their appearance, they are also
economical and ecological. For example, cork is used for many
decorative parts, as well as for the air vents and air conditioning
panel. The floor features a pattern in recycled leather. The white
lacquer finish of some parts and the visual effects created by the
materials used contribute to the original design and perceived quality
of the cabin.
Another key idea was to enhance the offbeat styling of C-Cactus by
reducing the number of parts and the quantity of materials used for the
Non-essential parts, such as the dashboard, are absent, while some of
the parts that are usually hidden have been included in the decor. This
is the case, for example, of the steering column, air conditioning
ducts and the grid for fore-and-aft adjustment of the front seats.
These features add a modern and original touch to the cabin. The refill
for the scented air freshener is also visible. It contributes to the
attractive appearance of the cabin, while enabling the driver to see
how much is left.
The decor has not been put in. It has been created by removing
material. This idea of decorating "in a vacuum" is reflected in the
patterns present on the door panels and seat frames. The patterns
cut-out in the door panels show the apple green felt inserted between
panel and metal. The main role of this part is to soundproof the
vehicle, but its colour and cut-outs make it an integral part of the
The same flower, plant and butterfly patterns – symbolising the
environment, purity and well-being – are also found on several other
cabin features. They are cut out, for example, in the white lacquer
seat frame. These cut-outs show the coloured foam used for the seat
cushions and give it a decorative quality.
Pertinent choices for an easy and enjoyable ride
C-Cactus boasts advanced equipment, optimised on-board
space and modular design at an affordable price. Passengers have all
the comfort essential to their well-being.
First, the ignition key of C-Cactus is a portable MP3 player with a
touch screen. When it is plugged into the fixed hub of the steering
wheel, it is recognised by the vehicle which can then be started.
The fixed-hub steering wheel includes a wide variety of functions. In
addition to the usual controls, it also includes the speedometer, which
is of an unusual design. The figures, placed in relief around the hub,
rotate according to speed and are positioned with respect to a fixed
A second touch screen on the central console includes a navigation
system to guide the driver on the road. It also serves as an onboard
computer. This equipment endows C-Cactus with high-tech advanced
features while also keeping costs down, since functions are grouped
The central console features two powerful high-quality active
loudspeakers that provide C-Cactus with an excellent sound system.
Their ingenious layout limits both wiring and installation costs.
Generous interior space ensures passenger comfort. C-Cactus boasts the
dimensions of a family car (4.2 metres long and 1.8 metres wide) with a
generous and modular boot (between 500 and 1,100 litres).
The rear seat, placed on a rail, slides up against the front seats.
The floor pan, which is integral with the rear bench, also slides
forward to reveal a subfloor. This reveals a virtually flat surface
area to load bulky objects.
||© 2007 Julian
Marsh/CitroŽnŽt/SA Automobiles CitroŽn