Automotive

Peugeot highlights its Hybrid Air technology in new demonstrator car

Peugeot highlights its Hybrid ...
Peugeot's Hybrid 208 2L demonstrator car complements a gasoline-air powertrain with weight- and drag-cutting measures
Peugeot's Hybrid 208 2L demonstrator car complements a gasoline-air powertrain with weight- and drag-cutting measures
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Peugeot's Hybrid 208 2L demonstrator car complements a gasoline-air powertrain with weight- and drag-cutting measures
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Peugeot's Hybrid 208 2L demonstrator car complements a gasoline-air powertrain with weight- and drag-cutting measures
Peugeot will show the 2L Hybrid Air 208 at the 2014 Paris Motor Show
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Peugeot will show the 2L Hybrid Air 208 at the 2014 Paris Motor Show
Peugeot's 2013 Hybrid Air Car had an estimated 2.9L/100 km
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Peugeot's 2013 Hybrid Air Car had an estimated 2.9L/100 km
The 2013 Peugeot Hybrid Air prototype at the Frankfurt Motor Show
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The 2013 Peugeot Hybrid Air prototype at the Frankfurt Motor Show
The 2013 Hybrid Air prototype showed a centrally mounted compressed air tank
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The 2013 Hybrid Air prototype showed a centrally mounted compressed air tank

A car that runs on air? Peugeot is working on it. The French automaker revealed its Hybrid Air technology last year and will showcase the 208 Hybrid 2L Demonstrator car at the Paris Motor Show next month. The latest iteration of the Hybrid Air design complements the gasoline-air powertrain with weight- and drag-cutting measures to offer fuel economy in the range of 117 mpg (2 L/100km), which is well above the 81 mpg (2.9 L/100km) it was quoting last year.

Beginning with the 82-hp (61 kW) 1.2-liter PureTech 208 five-seater, Peugeot's engineers reached into their materials catalog, swapping in carbon composite body panels and coil springs. They also reworked the thickness of the stainless steel on the exhaust system to provide a 20 percent weight saving, helping slice 220 lb (100 kg) compared to the production 208, down to 1,896 lb (860 kg).

While exotic materials are sometimes dropped when a car moves from prototype to production, Peugeot says that its team looked specifically for "materials compatible with existing production facilities and a high manufacturing output," suggesting a production version could feature the same construction.

The Hybrid Air powertrain combines the 1.2-liter gasoline engine with a compressed-air drive. Unlike last year's Hybrid Air concept, which used a longitudinally mounted air tank running down the center of the car, the 208 Hybrid 2L carries its compressed air tank below the trunk, with a low-pressure expansion tank mounted near the rear axle. The compressed air works in conjunction with a front-mounted hydraulic motor/pump system to power the car and refill in about 10 seconds during deceleration or by way of compressed air developed by the three-cylinder engine.

Peugeot will show the 2L Hybrid Air 208 at the 2014 Paris Motor Show
Peugeot will show the 2L Hybrid Air 208 at the 2014 Paris Motor Show

A bespoke epicyclic transmission balances output from the two power sources. The car has a zero emissions Air mode for lower-speed urban driving, Petrol mode for steady highway driving, and Combined mode for "transition phases in urban environments, such as standing starts and acceleration." As the demonstrator model name indicates, this balance results in efficiency levels as high as 2L/100 km (117 mpg), an improvement from last year's 2.9L/100km (81 mpg) figure.

Gizmag will be attending the Paris Motor Show, and we'll look to get more information about this promising hybrid technology, including whether it is still on pace to launch within the next two years.

Source: Peugeot

19 comments
Brian Mcc
It will fun to look back at all these silly cars in the near future. Lol compressed air..That's just funny. Oh BTW it RUNS on GASOLINE....pfft.
Mel Tisdale
Anyone who belittles efforts to improve fuel economy would do well to watch: www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jaQmcYEiME. It is 38 minutes long, but the first five minutes or so should be enough to get you hooked if you are a car driver or involved in road transport of any kind. It is also of interest to anyone who has swallowed the fracking hype and is in need of a dose of reality. You might consider 'Googling' the presenter, Chris Martenson, to lend validity to what is said. One thing we can be sure of is that high performance cars and their excessive fuel consumption are in the winter of their lives. Not because fuel will be too expensive for those who can afford to buy such cars, but because driving one will be seen as anti-social and image is all important to such people. Good luck to Peugeot - 117 mpg will be quite an achievement if it carries over into production, which appears to be their aim.
martinkopplow
Okay, this is just an air-gasoline hybrid, with the air being little more than a short distance buffer storage. We can't actually say it runs on air, then. I have in fact seen compressed air driven cars more than a decade ago, running in the streets, only it was a neighborhood vehicle niche market then. Running efficiency might not be the key feature of air cars. On the pro side, they do not require much precious resources and no dangerous materials, neither to make nor to run them. Production and storage of pressurized air is easily possible without precious metals, and it can be losslessly stored forever, as opposed to electricity. Filling up is fast. It may mot be the perfect solution as it is now, still I would not put it aside as silly. Roaling coal is silly. Technology evolves.
swaan
reminds me of the scuderi cycle engine! It makes a lot of sense to use air for energy storage as the mechanism is a lot simpler than the electrical way.
Simon
Brian Mcc I won't waste time or air, richardus caput.
VirtualGathis
There are a few points that people who dismiss this vehicle are ignoring. First - 117 mpg. That means it will operate at a simmilar cost to an electric only vehicle and produce about as much pollution. Second - pnuematic hybrid... that means it accomplishes the same thing the hybrid electric vehicles do (in this case only better) without the issues of toxic short lived batteries that require dangerous recycling or careful hazmat storage to prevent them poisoning the region they are stored in. The idea was never for this vehicle to "run on air". Air is not energy dense enough to support an automobile moving at highway speeds, but it can allow for a proper hybrid where the gasoline engine is downsized to average demand rather than dragging the ludicrously oversized gasoline engines most hybrids like the Volt or Prius use. A proper or "Full" hybrid uses a power plant that is sized just over average usage and a buffer like hydraulic fluid, compressed air, or electric batteries for demand activities like acceleration or hill climbing. To give you an idea how simple and affordable a full hybrid design can be look up the 79mpg Opal Gt. The builder converted his Opal GT with a curb weight around 4000lbs to a full hybrid, got decent acceleration and about 79mpg out of it. Quasi-hybrids like the Prius and Volt are just expensive wastes of money. Their marginal fuel savings will never offset the cost of the hybrid system or its environmental impact. Something like this Peugeot would actually be worth the extra money as it gets significantly better milage, and the hybrid system will be less expensive and have a dramatically lower impact on the environment.
Panayis Zambellis
compressed air as energy storage has possibilities plus effective energy recouping during the slowing down stopping cycle and doable with existing off the shelf technology look forward to seeing how it will do in real life
Daishi
This would have probably been much more viable back when battery tech was more expensive. Now it looks like Hybrids will start moving from cheap NiCad batteries to more expensive Lithium Ion but gain with it some added capacity for plug-in range. If compressed air is a more viable energy storage technology than batteries (or capacitors) why aren't people looking at it for things like off-grid solar installs?
Don Duncan
I'll believe it and buy it when I see it, e.g., when they provide the details, not just their conclusions. The curb weight of 1900 is a good start. What is this new low drag co-effecient? And what formula do they use to give us 117mpg? What is the price? I thought hybrids were a stalling tactic by manufactures, initially. Now I see the rationale, in spite of the complete lack of explanation by them. Do they think we are too dumb to understand? An ICE for constant speed freeway driving would get great milage but would be under powered for around town (quick acceleration). The low energy density alternative energy storage systems have no range. Combine them (hybrid) and we get a compromise car which will solve both problems, while increasing efficiency. The only serious prototype was the Aptera, which is a great platform for any powering system. When you get the fundamentals correct, you can't go wrong.