The concept of an air-powered hybrid car has long been a dream of ecological idealists, though, unfortunately, has never been a practical application in real life.
However, GM partner Peugeot, famous for their Peugeot Citroen line of luxury cars, may have a game-changer on their hands with their concept of a compression hybrid vehicle. The car would effectively put out a combined 117 mpg, with its compressed air/combustion engine combination.
For city-drivers, you may never have to fill up your car again, as the Peugeot’s compression engine is the primary power supply for speeds 0-43mph. Once you start driving faster than that, such as on the freeway or an interstate route, the gas engine will kick in and work alongside the compression tank.
Even the gas engine is fuel-efficient, and as a stand-alone fuel-source, would rank high in the category of hybrid vehicles with the Toyota Prius and others. Whereas traditional hybrids use a battery to add power, the Peugeot hybrid uses an air compression tank in the central transmission tunnel to power the hydraulic motor.
Braking or deceleration re-fills the air tank, so that the motor can compress that air and continue using it. The car itself would likely be a two-door vehicle, not much bigger than a ‘Smart Car’ or Mini Cooper, though early concepts may change later on in production.
This hybrid proposal by Peugeot will hopefully prove to be a viable alternative to gas-powered vehicles, since EV’s haven’t quite taken off as carmakers had predicted. Considering the fact that this vehicle isn’t required to plug-in to a charger, and rarely will require filling up at the gas station, it isn’t difficult to imagine a future where nearly everyone drives an air-powered car.
Peugeot has said that production on this hybrid car will begin in 2014, and no price estimates or ready-dates have been set.
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