Automakers have been experimenting with a variety of ways to improve fuel economy and lower emissions, but one of the most interesting to me is the Peugeot 208 “Air-Hybrid.” Debuting as a concept earlier this year, the air-hybrid can run on gasoline, air, or both, providing exceptional fuel economy without heavy and expensive batteries, and it’s coming to production in 2015.
Built on Peugeot’s popular 208 platform, the Air-Hybrid system was co-developed by Bosch and features a hydraulic pump that pushes air into the engine in place of gasoline. This pump keeps the engine going without any additional fuel required, and the electronically-controlled system can also alternate between air and gasoline. This unique take on air-powered cars has huge potential, so long as costs are kept under control.
Peugeot claims that in tests the 208 Air-Hybrid achieved nearly 98 mpg and emits just 69 grams of CO2 per kilometer, about 25% less than Peugeot’s next-cleanest car, a high-efficiency turbodiesel. Built with lightweight materials, it is even possible that the 208 Air-Hybrid could get 140 mpg or more in ideal conditions, and all without a battery or electric motor. Oh, and it can still go from 0 to 60 mph in a respectable 8 seconds.
Amazingly, Peugeot intends to bring the 208 Air-Hybrid to market around 2015, and it could shake up our perceptions of hybrids entirely. Would you rock something as out there as this?