Peugeot’s new Hybrid Air concept ditches batteries for compressed air

Peugeot Hybrid Air concept car_1

As an effort to save fuel and still give drivers the chance to commute long distances in their fuel saving vehicles, auto manufacturers have been depending on the hybrid technology that mostly uses a battery powered drive coupled with the conventional engine. However, the problem here is that batteries are expensive and heavy and don’t store enough charge for a long distance ride. Engineers at Peugeot are now trying to solve the riddle with an all-new type of hybrid technology, dubbed the Hybrid Air.

As the name suggests, the technology sees the marriage of a conventional gas engine with a compressed air storage tank to provide an emission-free drive. The technology operates of compressed air, gasoline or a combination of the two depending on the terrain and the drive length. The idea is quite simple – at speeds above 43mph the car uses a standard three-cylinder gasoline engine with an automatic transmission for power, while at speeds below it, the car uses compressed air to power a hydraulic motor with the gasoline engine completely shut down.

When climbing a steep hill, both the engines work in tandem to generate that extra power to counter the terrain. The unique combination of the technologies will give a passenger car a whopping mileage of 117mpg that translates to just two liters of gasoline for a 100km drive. The car will also make use of regenerative braking to harvest the energy of braking to top up the compressed air storage tanks. Moreover, since there are no batteries involved, the car is expected to be light in weight and more fuel efficient than conventional hybrids. Currently just a concept, the French automaker believes that it will have a vehicle, which uses this technology, available for purchase as early as 2016.

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