Fresh off its record-breaking run at Pikes Peak, French automaker Peugeot is wasting no time touting its hot hatchback credentials. Next up? A project known as the Peugeot 208 FE, a hot hatchback weighing around just 1,700 pounds, capable of 135 mpg on the European testing cycle, and still able to zip from 0 to 60 mph in under 8 seconds.
The hot hatchback craze has been popular in Europe for some 30-odd years now, Peugeot has always been a contender in this competitive segment. The 208 FE is a radical concept, utilizing extensive use of carbon fiber, replacing just about everything from the A-pillar back with the lightweight substance.
This alone saved about 400 pounds in weight, and other small advantages, like a 20-liter/5 gallon gas tank and fiberglass “blade” suspension keep the peppy Peugeot at around just 1,700 pounds. This allows the bored-out, 1.2 liter to run on the more-efficient Atkinson cycle, though Peugeot still fitted the little motor with a racing cylinder head.
But wait, there’s more! A 40 horsepower electric motor (detuned from 134 horsepower) is borrowed from the now-discontinued Pegeuot 908 HYbrid4 Le Mans racer, and the lithium-ion battery pack allows for up to 12 miles just electricity.
Peugeot is aiming for a sub-8-second sprint from 0-60 mph, which falls squarely in the “average” range for most conventional cars. While the 5-gallon fuel tank may be off-putting at first, remember that the engineers are calling for a 135 mpg rating. Even on the generous European testing cycle, this could still work out to over 100 mpg, allowing that tiny amount of fuel to take you 500 miles or more between fill-ups. While not as pretty as Puegeots other concepts, like the Onyx supercar, or as outlandish as the 117 mpg air-hybrid, it still seems like a righteous idea.
That is, of course, if they build it. Which they should, as a competitor to the 261 mpg Volkswagen XL1. Are we seeing the rise of a new class of car, the super hybrid?