Peugeot Citroën is pioneering a new direction for hybrid vehicles with its innovative Hybrid Air concept. The combination of a standard gasoline engine and compressed air system enables the car to achieve an efficiency of up to 81 MPG.
French automaker PSA Peugeot Citroën recently unveiled its new Hybrid Air vehicle concept, a car that can effectively run on, you guessed it, the very air we breathe. By integrating a hydraulic motor-pump assembly into your standard vehicle powertrain, the energy that would normally be wasted during braking or deceleration is used to compress and store air in a pressurized cylinder. This air is then released through the hydraulic motor during acceleration, propelling the vehicle forward. Depending on your current driving condition, the motor will either run the car alone with the engine turned off completely, or in conjunction with the gasoline engine.
Modern hybrid vehicles such as the Toyota Prius already utilize such kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS), but unlike the Hybrid Air, they convert the braking energy into electricity. Peugeot Citroën’s concept benefits from being essentially mechanical, hence requiring fewer complex components, such as generators, electric motors, and battery packs in particular. This makes for a far more affordable, lighter, and easier to maintain car, with emissions of 69 grams of CO2 per kilometer driven, rivaling that of the Prius’ 92 g/km. Also prepare to pay less for fuel, with the concept’s exceptional city driving mileage of 81 miles per gallon (MPG).
Let’s hope it also means a move away from the infamous lunchbox design of most hybrids (looking at you Prius)
The automaker, not usually known for its outlandish and unconventional approach to vehicle design, is aiming to play a leading role in the move towards low emission, more fuel efficient vehicles. Although the concept of hydraulic hybrids is not entirely new, the company affirms that the innovation lies in their implementation of the technology to produce the most efficient car. The motivation is certainly there, with the company in need of a breakthrough vehicle after reporting a net loss in 2012, and with continually tightening vehicle emissions caps by the European Commission. Peugeot Citroën claims that its patented technology will enable them to achieve a mileage of 117 MPG by 2020, and may perhaps give them a large slice of the elusive hybrid market in the near future.
Expect to see the Hybrid Air blowing past you in 2016.