We all know that it is not possible to have a completely air-powered car since air requires energy to be compressed and stored at a high enough pressure. However, French automaker Peugeot, has come up with a way to use air to power a car in tandem with a petrol engine.
During speeds of up to 43 mph in an urban driving environment, the car will be run on air 80 percent of the time with the petrol engine only kicking in for steep uphill climbs and motorway speeds. The designers claim that the urban driving range is extended by 90 percent compared to non-hybrid cars. The system will be available in the 2016 Peugeot 208 hatchback which will produce 20g CO2/km less than the Toyota Prius and also cost $7700 less with a starting price of $26,000.
The air-petrol hybrid transmission system works by discharging high-pressure nitrogen gas from the energy storage system during acceleration. The storage system pushes hydraulic fluid which drives a hydraulic motor connected to the motor. As the car decelerates, air is compressed and stored using regenerative braking or part of the petrol engine’s power to drive the hydraulic fluid into an accumulator and also re-pressurizes the nitrogen gas as it returns to the energy storage system.
The petrol engine will be a 1.2-liter motor capable of 82 horsepower. The 2016 model will have an estimated mileage of 97.3 mpg while the 2020 model will have boosted it to 117 mpg.
With electric hybrid systems having gained a firm reputation in the automotive industry, Peugeot’s new hybrid system will be faced by a lot of criticism once it is released. And let’s not forget that once the 208 comes out in 2016, it will directly be going against the well-established electric hybrids. But if they can survive the critics and the competition, Peugeot will surely make a name for themselves in automotive history.