Peugeot’s groundbreaking Hybrid Air tech returns in Paris

New Peugeot 208 HYbrid Air concept debuts at Paris Motor Show, as the French brand targets 141mpg by 2020

Peugeot 208 HybridAir

Peugeot is ploughing ahead with its HYbrid Air technology, and has shown its latest developments in the 208 hatchback at the Paris Motor Show.

This latest concept, unsurprisingly dubbed the 208 HYbrid Air 2L, has its sights set on meeting the French government’s goal of putting an affordable 2.0l/100km (141mpg) car into production by 2020.

Central to this aim is the HYbrid Air drivetrain itself – as driven by Auto Express back in July – which uses compressed air rather than expensive batteries to boost a small capacity petrol engine.

There are three available modes, one using compressed air only for zero emissions (ideal around town), another that makes use of the 81bhp 1.2-litre PureTech engine alone (suited to motorway cruising), or a petrol-air combination.

208 Hybridair paris

A monitoring system selects the best setting for the circumstances, displaying all information to the driver. As with more conventional hybrids, the system works in purely electric mode for as long as possible, switching when either the ‘charge’ (or in this case, air) is depleted, or when more acceleration is needed.

Recharging follows a similarly familiar process: slowing down under braking or by easing off the throttle helps recover energy, with the three-cylinder petrol engine also able to kick in and provide a boost.

Backing this compressed air system up in the 208 HYbrid Air 2L, Peugeot has worked on the smoothness of its PureTech unit, as friction accounts for around a fifth of the power generated. By covering the camshafts and pistons in a so-called Diamond Like Carbon (DLC) coating, engine efficiency is apparently improved by four percent.

The concept’s weight is down, too, compared to the production 208 it’s based on. A mixture of steel, aluminium, and composites were used for the platform and body, alongside a redesign for certain existing parts like the stainless steel exhaust system, resulting in a loss of 100kg and reducing the overall kerbweight to 860kg.

Rounding off the changes are a few tweaks to improve the 208 Hybrid Air’s aerodynamics, including a lower stance and air intakes that allow just enough air into the engine. Peugeot has also smoothed out the windscreen surround, added a bootlid-mounted spoiler and fitted an air extractor below the car. Finally, conventional wing mirrors make way for cameras and there are large-diameter, low rolling resistance tyres with aero hub caps.

Find out about the best hybrid cars you can buy now...

Recommended

Peugeot 208 review
Peugeot 208 - best superminis
Peugeot 208

Peugeot 208 review

The Peugeot 208 has eye-catching looks and is pleasant to drive, but rivals are more practical and offer better value
11 May 2022
Peugeot 208 and 2008 gain minimalist gear selector
New Peugeot gear selector
Peugeot

Peugeot 208 and 2008 gain minimalist gear selector

The cars’ strangely shaped automatic gear selector has been replaced with a space-freeing design already seen in the 308
29 Mar 2022
Top 10 best superminis to buy 2022
Best superminis - header image
Best cars & vans

Top 10 best superminis to buy 2022

It's a hard-fought class, but these are the 10 best superminis on sale right now
19 Jan 2022
Top 10 best small cars to buy 2022
Best small cars header
Best cars & vans

Top 10 best small cars to buy 2022

Small cars come in all kinds of shapes, if not sizes. Here we highlight the best new small cars on sale
6 Jan 2022

Most Popular

New electric MG Cyberster roadster to take brand back to its roots
MG roadster exclusive image - front
News

New electric MG Cyberster roadster to take brand back to its roots

The all-electric two-seat MG sports car is poised to follow the likes of the MG TF and MGB, and our exclusive images preview how it could look
23 Jun 2022
‘New Jaguar will be “a copy of nothing” – in every way’
Opinion - Jaguar
Jaguar

‘New Jaguar will be “a copy of nothing” – in every way’

Editor-in-chief Steve Fowler thinks Jaguar's rebirth is a risk worth taking
15 Jun 2022
New Alfa Romeo Tonale Quadrifoglio production to be decided by customer demand
Alfa Romeo Tonale Quadrifoglio
News

New Alfa Romeo Tonale Quadrifoglio production to be decided by customer demand

Customer interest will be a key factor in whether a proposed hot Alfa Romeo Tonale Quadrifoglio will reach showrooms
24 Jun 2022