Peugeot Hybrid Air tech to make production

Peugeot 208 FE Hybrid
29 Oct, 2013 2:08pm Luke Madden

Peugeot claims compressed air hybrid tech is progressing and promises 100mpg in a Peugeot 208-sized car

Peugeot HybridAir technology – which uses compressed air rather than expensive batteries to boost a small capacity petrol engine – will make production but not until 2015 at the earliest, Auto Express has learned.

The Peugeot 208 hatchback could get almost 100mpg when fitted with new Peugeot Hybrid Air technology. This hybrid system uses compressed air rather than batteries, and in a light B-segment car like the 208 it can produce excellent economy figures.

• Peugeot 208 review

Peugeot believes the technology isn’t due until at least 2015 but when it does arrive, the French manufacturer is sure that it will have improved on that near-100mpg figure. A typical B-segment car like the Peugeot 208 can achieve 97.3mpg and emits just 69g/km of CO2. Currently the most efficient 208 in the range – the 1.4 e-HDi – emits 87g/km.

The Hybrid Air system can operate in zero emissions air mode, where compressed air is used to drive the hydraulic motor, which then turns the transmission and thus the front wheels. It can also operate in petrol-engine-only mode, or petrol and air in combination.

Like a current petrol-electric hybrid, the drivetrain is electronically controlled and automatically selects the power source most appropriate to the driving conditions. The compressed air tank is refilled by the hydraulic pump under deceleration or braking.

Using lessons learned from the Peugeot 208 FE Hybrid – a joint engineering project between Peugeot and Total – the firm believes that the efficiency figures can be improved even further, to something like 141mpg.

Hybrid FE uses lightweight materials, advanced aerodynamics and hybrid technology to achieve 148mpg. Despite its impressive economy figures the 208 FE has performance similar to the GTi, with a 0-62mph time of 8.0 seconds.

Unlike the HybridAir technology, Peugeot currently doesn’t have any plans to put the 208 FE in to production but aspects of its design – such as the lightweight engine, composite materials and carbon fibre ‘blade’ suspension are all being considered for Peugeot’s future roadgoing portfolio.