Peugeot, Citroën Replace Hybrid’s Electric Motor With Compressed Air

January 23, 2013
PSA Hybrid Air Cutaway
The newest hybrid technology to come from Peugeot and Citroën sounds more like something out of science fiction than real-world technology. The French automakers have worked to develop a new hybrid system that combines a gasoline-powered I-3 engine with a hydraulic motor powered by a tank of compressed air.
Yes, air.
The Hybrid Air system works similarly to the current gas- or diesel-electric hybrids that are on today's market, but substitutes the batteries for tanks of compressed air. PSA Peugeot Citroën says that the system is currently designed to fit into a B-segment car, like the Citroën C3 or Peugeot 208, but could be scaled up to fit in larger C-, D-, or light commercial vehicle (LCV) segment vehicles. The current setup uses an 82-hp internal-combustion engine, but PSA says that a larger, 110-hp engine could be substituted for a C-segment car without changing the amount of compressed air required.
Air is stored in two tanks – one near the fuel tank for low-pressure storage and one along the center tunnel. Depending on vehicle layout and needs (like a flat load floor in LCV cars), the size, shape, and arrangement of the air tanks can be changed. The gas-air hybrid also uses regenerative braking, but not how we're used to: instead of using friction heat to create stored energy, the regenerative brakes work to pull in air through a compressor to refill the tanks.
PSA says that a Hybrid Air vehicle will net a 45 percent savings in fuel consumption and a range increase of 90 percent over a traditional gas-only car. On the European cycle, a B-segment Hybrid Air car with a gas I-3 is estimated to return the equivalent of 81 mph (2.9L/100 km). Operation is similar to gas-electric hybrids – the car can run in gas-only, air-only, or combined modes.
PSA promised to fit the Hybrid Air system to a production B-segment car by 2016. Would you want to see a gas-air hybrid model on the roads? Let us know in the comments section.
Source: PSA Peugeot Citroën

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