Peugeot Unveils Its 141 MPG 208 HYbrid Air 2L Concept
One very interesting but on the face-of-it nothing out of the ordinary car was recently displayed on the Peugeot stand at the Paris motor show earlier this month – but seemed to have been largely overlooked by the majority of the world’s media. This car demonstrated Peugeot’s commitment to its revolutionary Hybrid Air Technology, in the guise of its new 208 HYbrid Air 2L concept. Based on the production version of the 208 1.2-litre PureTech 82hp hatchback, the reference to 2L in the name of the company’s latest concept vehicle refers to its impressive economy of using just two litres of fuel per 100km – equivalent to 141mpg.
Constructed from a mixture of steel, aluminium and composite materials, the 208 HYbrid Air 2L is 100kg lighter than the car on which it is based. This is important since it helps reduce fuel consumption to the minimum. But the real key to the success of the HYbrid Air Technology is what lies at its heart: its drivetrain.
In essence this comprises of a standard petrol engine mated to a compressed air system. Developed in association with Bosch and demonstrated before in a number of different guises, the new hybrid system works by using compressed air for energy storage rather than a battery. This means hybridisation can be achieved more cheaply and with less weight than traditional systems. The air is stored in a tank under the boot and pumped to the engine hydraulically and can be used to assist or even replace the petrol engine to enable maximum efficiency.
At speeds of up to 43mph, the car’s Air Mode operates in the same way as the EV mode does in traditional hybrid cars. This means that it is possible to travel without any noxious gases being emitted from the exhaust pipes. This mode can be active between 60% and 80% of the time the car spends in an urban environment, depending on traffic conditions. The compressed air tank can be recharged in one of two ways: firstly, when the car slows down, whether this is whilst the driver is actively braking or just taking their foot off the pedal, or secondly, by using the energy developed by the 3-cylinder petrol engine to compress the air.
In either case, maximum pressure can be achieved in just 10 seconds. The result is an efficient hybrid system whose CO2 emissions have been rated at a competitive 111.2g/km.
There is no confirmation from Peugeot yet as to whether the 208 HYbrid Air will ever see the light of day as a production vehicle. However, we know that the French government is aiming to make an affordable 2.0-litre per 100km vehicle available to the public by 2020 – thus giving Peugeot at least another four years of development time.
This is an abridged version of an article that has been especially prepared by First4Auto on behalf of EcoCars4Sale.