Automakers have learned quickly that adding an electric motor to a conventional drivetrain can produce some spectacular improvements in both fuel economy and performance. The Peugeot 308 R HYbrid debuted at the Shanghai Auto Show bringing 500 horsepower to the party through two electric motors and a small gas turbo engine.
Peugeot has debuted some cool and important concepts in China in the past few years, and the 308 R HYbrid continues that tradition. The 1.6 liter turbo engine produces a bulk of the power, about 270 ponies, with two 115 horsepower (230 HP total) electric motors placed at both axle bringing total output to 500, with 538 lb-ft of torque to play with.
This allows the Peugeot hot hatch to scream from 0 to 60 MPH in 4.0 seconds, with power going to all four wheels through a six-speed gearbox, all the way to an electronically limited top speed of 250 KPH/155 MPH. Three driving modes limit power to improve road manners, with Road Mode allowing just 300 horsepower, Track Mode upping output to 400, and Hot Lap allowing all 500 ponies to gallop free.
The Peugeot 308 R HYbrid obviously has ambitions beyond the road, and while it has wide tires and ventilated brakes, the regenerative braking has been tuned to provide extra stopping power in those high-speed turns. What’s most amazing though is we live in an era where 500 horsepower cars can be built around engines with less displacement than your typical soda bottle. Peugeot has built quite a few cool HYbrid concepts, from cars that run on air to those with drivetrains inspired by Le Mans race cars. It’s almost enough for me to wish Peugeot still sold cars in the USA.
There’s an old saying that the replacement for displacement was turbochargers, but I think a better argument can be made for electric motors.