What’s the Latest Development?
On Tuesday, French automaker PSA Peugeot Citroen announced Hybrid Air, a vehicle propulsion system that combines a conventional gasoline-fueled engine with a hydraulic motor that operates on compressed nitrogen. This distinguishes it from the gasoline-electric hybrids produced by Toyota, which currently claims 70 percent of that market. The power unit also weighs less, which makes the car lighter overall. According to Peugeot, “In city driving conditions, the vehicles can travel on the compressed gas power as much as 80 percent of the time with the three-cylinder petrol engine cut.”
What’s the Big Idea?
The Hybrid Air system was developed by Peugeot in collaboration with auto parts manufacturer Robert Bosch. Bosch executive Bernd Bohr said that by pricing equipped vehicles below €20,000 (about US$26,000), “the cost per gram of [carbon dioxide gas] reduction is going to be very competitive” compared with other automakers’ offerings as well as with one of Peugeot’s own models using the same gasoline engine. Although Bohr says there are still some challenges to be worked out, Peugeot predicts the new hybrids will be on the roads sometime in 2016.
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