Peugeot Citroen said it would try a different technological approach for its future PEHVs, as part of the company’s efforts to compete in an increasingly demanding segment.
The French auto Group committed to launch seven plug-in hybrid and four pure-electric models by 2021, an electric effort that is part of automaker’s new “Push to Pass” plan. Therefore, it swiftly needs to focus on R&D to find affordable technologies for battery-powered cars, in order to catch up the lost ground on the electric front and to properly compete with rivals such Renault-Nissan. PSA said it was already working on new electric-related techs to provide greater power and range to its future green models by developing better batteries. The company recently confirmed that it was also looking to another approach by assessing the so-called range extenders with the Israeli start-up Aquarius Engines. “We are evaluating the technology,” said PSA Research and Development Director Gilles Le Borgne, cited by Reuters. “Nothing has been decided yet.”
Range extenders have started to draw attention thanks to GM’s Volt that, instead of using a classical hybrid setup, it relies on a small combustion engine to fire up only to charge the batteries. Aquarius Engines has been exploring a single-piston generator design based on a valveless 600cc cylinder, producing power from electromagnetic coils with each stroke. According to simulations by the German engineering firm FEV, it can deliver more than twice the overall energy efficiency of a typical combustion engine. Aquarius said several prototype vehicles using its free-piston generator would be road-tested by the carmaker client early in 2017.