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Le Car takes wing

Autobody with quadcopter arms

Just at the time when the advanced air mobility/urban air mobility (AAM/UAM) groundswell seems to have congealed into some 11 viable designs—those offered by Joby Aviation, Embraer, Lilium, Pipistrel, Bell, Airbus, EHang, Volocopter, and Hyundai—along comes Renault’s AIR4.
Future Flight
Future Flight

Together with design firm TheArsenale, the French auto manufacturer came up with this quadcopter-style eVTOL to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of its classic Renault 4 automobile. This was a boxy-looking compact car built between 1961 and 1994. A successor design, the Renault 5, closely resembles it and was marketed in the United States under the Le Car name.

The AIR4’s most remarkable feature is its carbon fiber fuselage, which looks like a Renault 4 autobody perched atop the quadcopter arms. It even has headlights. The fuselage is hinged at the front, so to enter the cabin, you’d raise its aft end and climb in to access the craft’s four seats. Power comes from an array of 22,000 milliAmp-hour lithium polymer batteries.

There are dual motor/rotor propulsion units at the end of each of the quadcopter arms, and maximum cruise speed should be 50 knots at the aircraft’s projected 2,300-foot maximum operating altitude. No word yet on range, but its endurance will be a reported 15 minutes. The AIR4 was on public display at the L’Atelier Renault on Paris’ Champs-Élysées until the end of 2021. In 2022, Renault says the AIR4 will give demonstration flights all over the world, including Miami, New York City, and Macau.

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Thomas A. Horne

Thomas A. Horne

AOPA Pilot Editor at Large
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne has worked at AOPA since the early 1980s. He began flying in 1975 and has an airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates. He’s flown everything from ultralights to Gulfstreams and ferried numerous piston airplanes across the Atlantic.

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