The Peugeot Air Powered Hybrid Car Could Hit Streets By 2016


French car company Peugeot has unveiled an air powered hybrid car, the Hybrid Air Concept, with the goal to have the car on the road by 2016. The air engine has been in development for more than two years with over 100 leading scientists and engineers working on the air powered car in top secret conditions at Peugeot’s research and development center at Velizy, south of Paris.

The air engine system works by using a normal internal combustion engine, special hydraulics and an adapted gearbox along with compressed air cylinders that store and release energy. This allows the car to run on gas or air or a combination of the two. Air power would be used below 43 mph. The air compresses and decompresses as the car speeds up and slows down. Peugeot predicts the cars could be achieving an average of 73 mpg by 2020.

What this air engine does is remove the electric engine component from hybrid vehicles. This eliminates the need for a large battery, which cuts down on cost, weight, and negative environmental impact. Plus, you will not get stranded looking for a charger on some back country road. While pure compressed air cars have been tried before, this is the first application of a gas-compressed air hybrid.

The system will be able to be installed on any normal Peugeot car without altering its external shape, size or trunk space if the spare is removed. From the exterior the air powered Peugeot will look identical to a conventional Peugeot.

Peugeot will be introducing the air powered engine in smaller models such as the model 208 to start.

Source: Peugeot

Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison 

About the Author

Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor's Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master's Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison
  • Jason Carpp

    How is that possible to do, let alone to do reliably? I’m going to have to see it for myself, maybe even try driving it myself, before I’m sold on the idea.

    • T Adkins

      It is similar to a hydraulic hybrid but using compressed air. Most of the fuel savings in Hybrids is not so much the battery electric technology as much as the start and stop engine tricks, when in stop go traffic this is typically why gas/ev hybrids get better mpg in city driving. The compressor also is to use braking to compress the air.

  • Modern diesels do 70mpg so what is the point and expense of compressed air

    • Jason Carpp

      @ Alan Robinson: I agree. Diesel may not be for everyone, but so what? If I was in the market for another car, I’d buy one with a diesel engine, if one were available, rather than that of compressed air.

    • T Adkins

      In the US Diesel and battery hybrid cost are about the same in upfront cost but this compressed air system is supposed to be cheaper than battery hybrid for roughly the same performance, if it is cheaper than ev/battery hybrid it should also be less than diesel.

      Sadly it seems part of the reason we wont support diesel as much in the US is that the diesel is a heavy duty longer lasting engine, as such it works against the car makers who seem to want consumers to buy a new car every 5 years.

      • Jason Carpp

        I’d support diesel power in cars if more of them were produced here in the USA or even imported here. It may not be for everyone, for various reasons, but so what? You can’t please everyone, so why try? If people want diesel, they’ll buy diesel.

        • T Adkins

          The US and many car manufacturing seem to go out of the way to not let diesel imports into the US. I too am a big supporter of diesel but the deck is set the game is rigged and the odds favor the house.

          Ever since Rudolf Diesel took a ship going from Antwerp to England to talk about his engine that ran on peanut oil, but along the way he “accidentally” took a long walk off of a boat and his body was found adrift 10 days later. Since about that time oil and car makers have had a big sway in the use of diesel.

          • Jason Carpp

            The reasons manufacturers give for not offering diesel powered cars and certain trucks here in the United States are long and stupid. They say that people won’t buy a car or truck if they knew that it was powered by a diesel engine. These “environmentalists” want diesel banned in the US because it pollutes the air. Because it’s too damn noisy, and on, and, on and on. It’s the same tired old excuse manufacturers have been using since the invention of the automobile. What bothers me is that instead of listening to us, the people who buy cars and trucks, listen to what we think, whether we want our cars with diesel, they listen to marketing people, they listen to the environmentalists.

          • I don’t think that’s accurate. Most of the super-greenies I talk to love diesels because of the ease of converting petrodiesel to biodiesel … which, with all the US oil subsidies out there, may be exactly why we don’t get as many diesels as we’d like!

  • I think this is brilliant. I’m a big fan of diesel powered cars, but, especially here in the US, they are at a competitive disadvantage due to high purchase cost, high cost of diesel fuel, and, as pointed out in a nearby thread, high cost of insurance.

    Current hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric cars all suffer from one drawback in common – the battery. Lithium is a toxic substance. It is dangerous to mine and dangerous to dispose of. At present, the world has no plan for proper disposal of lithium batteries. Most of our outmoded electronics get dumped on the poor in Africa. Is that where our lithium batteries will wind up as well?

    Air is easily compressed and the containment vessel can be formed into any shape necessary to fit on board a particular car, whereas the car has to be designed around the size and shape of the battery it will use.

    And, at least in short bursts, compressed air can provide a significant increase in engine power similar to or even greater than that offered by the electric motor in hybrid power trains.

    The search for new and better ways to power an automobile has been going on for over 100 years now. Let’s hope it never stops!

    PS. Peugeot makes some delicious cars that are not available here in North America. If this innovation led to Peugeot re-entering the US market, that would be an altogether good thing for automotive enthusiasts.

    • Jason Carpp

      I haven’t seen a Peugeot in the USA since the 1980s, with the 504, the 505, and the 604, the 505 and the 604 being the best looking of the Peugeots (in my humble opinion).