Peugeot BB1 Concept: Tiny Flying Fetus Still Crazy-Looking

Illustration for article titled Peugeot BB1 Concept: Tiny Flying Fetus Still Crazy-Looking

The questionably-styled 20 HP four-passenger Peugeot BB1 concept has hit the Frankfurt Motor Show floor and it continues to confuse us. Is the mobile mystery-machine cool? Maybe. Attractive? Not unless you like driving a flying fetus.


The BB1 is easily the winner of the "Most French" award at this years Frankfurt show, it's bizarre through and through. To start, it's an electric vehicle, boasting two motors at each of the rear wheels which combined produce a meager 20HP. That might not sound like much (and it isn't) but the BB1 is only 8.2 feet long and because of the carbon fiber structure weighs a scant 1323 lbs, so there's not that much to haul around. Performance is staggering, with a 0-19 MPH time of a crushing 2.8 seconds. Stand back.


Pushing the odd looks aside, the concept car's still a strange beast. Its modus operandi is to exist in the space between scooters and cars, so it's got very tight seating, a set of handlebars which house all the controls, and seating that requires rear seat passengers sit akimbo behind the seat back free fronts. Weird. Vomitously, the car is equipped with an iPod dock right on the handlebars from which you can Tweet your current ultra-weird Frenchness.

The Peugeot BB1 - Mobility for the future

* Zero emissions
* Electric powered with a range of 75 Miles
* Accommodates four occupants
* Reinvents the automobile in every way

With its BB1 concept car, Peugeot has fearlessly pushed back the conventions and boundaries of automobile manufacturing to bring a totally original response to the current and future needs of urban mobility.
Capable of seating four people in a vehicle just 2.5 metres long, the BB1 concept car is a full electric vehicle that reinvents the automobile in every way: architecture, style, interior design, drive, connectivity – while all the time respecting the environment.
At the forefront are the values of liberty, optimism - even "altruism". The BB1 concept car is the promise of a new driving experience.

The world is always on the move. Urban traffi c is ever increasing. Everyone wants to save time and the environment is a bigger priority than it ever has been before. Designers are seeking ever more ingenious ways to visualise a plethora of solutions for the future.
To meet all these needs, Peugeot has developed an amazing mobility offer. Depending on age and their current needs, everyone can fi nd a suitable solution in Peugeot's lion-branded range of bikes, motorbikes and automobiles.
Peugeot are constantly studying and sharing mobility solutions, bringing together various internal companies to pool their expertise and their creativity to give rise to particularly original projects. Indeed, Peugeot has always sought to be a global, durable provider of mobility, with an inventive,
responsible and competitive range of vehicles, whether they are on two, three or four wheels. The BB1 concept car, unveiled at the 63rd Frankfurt Motor Show, paves the way for this ideal by pushing back the barriers to bring a renewed driveability, expressiveness and allure... This electric vehicle aims to explore new grounds with regards to urban mobility.

The BB1 brief was to tackle all issues of the modern world faced by people on a daily basis in order to offer maximum versatility, a compact size; be dynamic and manoeuvrable (3.5m turning circle).
To achieve all this, the Peugeot teams faced a real challenge - never before seen in the history of the automobile: accommodating four people in a car 2.5m long.
This record use of interior space could potentially lead to a larger load capacity, even though its "compact" size gives it the ability to park in extremely tight spots - even perpendicular to the pavement.
To meet this challenge, the structure of the passenger compartment has drawn inspiration from two-wheeled vehicles in terms of ergonomics: the driver controls the vehicle by adopting a new driving position - more vertical
than is usual. This is mainly made possible through the absence of fl oor pedals. The rear passenger is seated in tandem behind the driver. On the right-hand side, front andrear passengers adopt the same position.
It is thanks to this original confi guration for a four-wheel vehicle that the BB1 has such a totally original design. Access to the vehicle is through the inverted door opening mechanism, while boot access is through a tail board and a tailgate. The interior can be transformed as required to offer a load volume of 160 litres (with four occupants), rising to 855 litres (with just one person in the car).

The style of the vehicle highlights the interior space and the driving ergonomics. With its sweeping styling lines at the front, large glazed area, low doors (for the passenger compartment ventilation system) and very clear wheel arch space. The car also represents a break with the past through its exterior styling in relation to the automobiles we have seen to date. Robust and protective, the quality and technology shine through in every detail, such as the "full LED" front headlights and rear view cameras. The double bubble roof, as in the RCZ, helps with the rear space of the vehicle.
As well as the openness and brightness brought by the large windows, the BB1 presents an extensive set of interactive technologies. The colour display and the vehicle's audio system provide an ideal setting for your "smartphone" functionalities: telephone, navigation, Internet access, radio, MP3... Just connect your device to the USB jack, or the 12V socket if necessary.
Universal and user-friendly, this system enables the BB1 to concentrate on essential services without multiple pieces of equipment, bringing extra safety to driving and saving considerable weight.
Similarly, the rear-view cameras remove the need for mirrors, optimising the width of the vehicle and improving its aerodynamics, while adding to the high-tech aspect of the interior.
Two original creative images have been produced for the BB1 concept by the artist Michel Serviteur. Portrayed around the driving position, they offer a new link with time and speed. A clock brings the interior to life by linking a colour to each period of the day; time goes by to the rhythm of the light to enhance the feeling of wellbeing. In addition, there is a graphic animation which could replace the speedometer, finding its equilibrium at a steady speed but which moves again when that speed is interrupted.

Creative - the BB1 leads the way with its electric drive system.
It is fi tted with electric motors in the rear wheels, designed in association with Michelin. This original set-up maximises the interior space. It draws its inspiration from the world of the quad bike, with a maximum power output of 15 kW (20hp) - or 7.5 kW per motor. This provides the optimum power to weight ratio for the vehicle in its urban driving setting. Its characteristics give it the best possible response at start-up (0 to 30 kph in 2.8 seconds) and excellent in-gear acceleration (30-60 kph in 4 seconds), ensuring the driving enjoyment and safety that are the hallmark of Peugeot. The lithium-ion batteries provide immediate power. They have a comfortable range of 120 km. Each of the two battery packs supplying energy to the two respective electric motors are fitted under the right and left rear seats, thereby avoiding any reduction in the interior space and the storage space. Furthermore, this location between the two front and rear wheels helps with the centring of the vehicle weight and benefits vehicle stability, especially during braking.

Peugeot engineers have completely reinvented the way to design a vehicle. The BB1 is therefore based on a tubular chassis designed by Peugeot Motorcycles. It includes all normal vehicle dynamic systems: electric power steering, suspension (double-wishbone front and rear suspension), friction damper spring assemblies - granting the vehicle a level of road-holding to match the vehicle's performance, its urban nature and driveability and safety levels worthy of the Peugeot Marque.

The body is made up of a very light carbon structure, designed to wrap around the passenger compartment, all of which enables potential future customisation and a possibility of a variety of vehicle shapes...
Finally, the vehicle weight does not exceed 600 kg, including the batteries, enabling all its mechanical parts to be placed in their ideal position, ensuring optimal weight distribution.

Thanks to its electric propulsion, the BB1 is an environmentally friendly ehicle par excellence and emits no loud noise outside the vehicle, and above all no pollutant emissions owing to the fact that it consumes no fossil fuels.
But this eco-responsibility isn't limited to just driving. At a standstill, the passenger compartment ventilation keeps operating in daylight thanks to the solar panels placed on the roof of the vehicle. This enables two functions:
pre-ventilation of the interior and the trapping of pollutants and ultra-fine dust particles (μm), due to the use of high-performance fi lters and activated carbon.

The BB1's solar panels use cutting-edge technology, designed in partnership with the Ocean Vital foundation. Flexible (enabling their usage on surfaces as complex as the dual-bubble roof of the BB1), they provide a high yield of around 16% of energy captured (a much higher performance than current systems) to power some of the vehicle systems.
The Ocean Vital Foundation, created by round-the-world navigator Raphaël Dinelli, works towards the development of new clean technologies, the aim of which is to preserve our natural resources and our environment. As part of the BB1 project, Peugeot and Ocean Vital have entered into an agreement to support research and development into new renewable energy technology and therefore encourage the development of research projects and the "green economy" in France.

The name "BB1" isn't the only reference to Peugeot's history and the "Baby Peugeot" models of 1905 and 1912...
This ultra-compact, lightweight electric vehicle concept is also something of a throwback to the Peugeot VLV. Three hundred and seventy seven of which were built between 1941 and 1945, meeting the then special needs of users
throughout the Second World War. All this stands as proof that Peugeot has always been able to create and adapt its mobility offers to a particular time and need.

Type Synchronous with permanent magnets
Continuous power 2 x 7.5 kW
Max. power 2 x 10 kW
Max. torque on wheel 2 x 320 Nm

Type Michelin Energy Saver
Dimensions 195 x 50 R16

PERFORMANCE (driver only)
Acceleration from 0 to 30 kph (s) 2.8
In gear acceleration from 30 to 60 kph (s) 4.0
Maximum speed (kph) 90

120 km

Overall length 2.50
Overall body width 1.60
Ride height - full tanks 1.54
Wheelbase 1.80
Front/rear overhang 0.40 / 0.30
Front / Rear track 1.40

Weight (kg)
Excluding batteries 500
With batteries 600

Cx / SCx
0.36 / 0.75

Lithium-ion high-voltage batteries

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We complain when concept cars aren't outlandish and fantastical enough and we bitch and moan when concept cars appear as hideous abortions. Critics have a right to their opinion and are, in a way, paid to complain. But if all we look at is the subjectively unattractive physical form then we completely miss the purpose of the BB1.

The looks should get you talking, sure. But read the release and continue the conversation on those grounds. There's no reason to claim that "I'd never be caught dead driving that", you'll never get the chance... it's a concept. The concept with the BB1 is to re-evaluate, explore, and revolutionize the dynamics and logistics of the city car. It does this through a unique perspective applying design techniques from scooters and motorcycles to accommodate additional passenger space without giving up its compact nature. There's a lot of really cool stuff going on with this car if we'd just ignore the pictures. The design was intended to be polarizing... or universally despised, in order to bring people into their show booth. Once there, they intend to have visitors focus on what the car is about. Pull back from your macro view of this design, we're already in the booth. Read the release and see the bigger picture. Attacking the design comes across as ignorant, it speaks heavily to the steady decline in true concept cars which we've been lamenting recently. Why can't we evaluate this car for what it is, instead of how it looks?

That said, how does a 15kw, 600kg, 4-wheeled car ever acquire a flying nickname?