Peugeot unveils battery-free hybrid technology image

PSA Peugeot Citroen on Tuesday unveiled a hybrid vehicle concept that combines a conventional engine with compressed nitrogen propulsion.

The French carmaker says the pioneering solution would halve the cost of cutting emissions compared with current petrol-electric hybrids.

The „Hybrid Air” system developed with auto parts supplier Robert Bosch is supposedly lighter than a hybrid running on petrol and battery power. “The cost per gram of CO2 reduction is going to be very competitive,” Bosch automotive chief Bernd Bohr was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Peugeot says the technology could be launched around 2016, with vehicles priced below €20,000 ($26,600). Unlike Toyota’s Prius hybrid, which adds an electric motor to a conventional engine, Peugeot’s system will use a separate hydraulic motor driven by nitrogen compressed by energy from braking and deceleration.

Peugeot said that in city driving conditions, the vehicle can travel on the compressed gas power as much as 80 percent of the time with the three-cylinder petrol engine cut. According to Peugeot, a prototype Hybrid Air subcompact emitted 72 grams of CO2 per kilometer, compared with 104 grams for a Peugeot 208 model with the same combustion engine.

Peugeot’s development chief Guillaume Faury said the new transmission would cut the cost per gram of CO2 saved by half when compared with equivalent petrol-electric hybrids.