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Peugeot Unveils Gas-Air Hybrid

A new type of hybrid was revealed by Peugeot at the 2013 Geneva Auto Show that is said to be able to achieve 80 miles per gallon.

Instead of combining a gas engine with a battery and electric motor system for this hybrid, Peugeot engineers have integrated a compressed air system that can capture some of the kinetic energy when braking and use it to help power the vehicle.

The system is called HybridAir, and because it doesn’t require a costly battery and electric drive unit, could end up seeing wider adoption than previous hybrids, simply due to a lower price. The parts are also much cheaper and more widely available than those for an electric hybrid, which is a huge plus for owners.

The parts to the system aren’t necessarily novel, as the technology behind it already existed, but Peugeot engineers were able to fully integrate all of the necessary pieces to create a viable fuel-efficient automobile for the mass market.

According to the Guardian, as the company was developing the HybridAir, the details of the technology were kept top secret, and the employees working on it couldn’t even talk about it with their own families.

The HybridAir system uses a three cylinder, 1.2 liter gasoline engine in conjunction with a hydraulic motor, which is powered by a pressure tank that is filled via kinetic energy from braking. The tank will fill to capacity in just 10 seconds, and the air powered system is only used at speeds under 45 mph. The system is said to get 81 mpg, and it can be used to power 80% of the urban driving done in the vehicle.

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