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Paris show: Peugeot to debut 208 Hybrid Air 2L

Air superiority: The 208 Hybrid Air 2L is Peugeot’s answer to the French government’s challenge to build a car which consumes less than 2.0L/100km.

Paris-bound Peugeot 208 Hybrid Air 2L runs on air, but cost could be a roadblock

Peugeot logo9 Sep 2014

By RICHARD BERRY

PEUGEOT will debut its 208 Hybrid Air 2L concept at the Paris motor show, after accepting the French president’s challenge to develop a car capable of sipping less than 2.0-litres of fuel per 100km.

The super-efficient light hatch takes the baton from the 2008 Hybrid Air crossover unveiled by the French carmaker last year, which showcased the energy recovery technology.

In 2013, French president Francois Hollande launched a 10-year industrial plan for the country, which included a goal for a new car capable of consuming less than 2.0L/100km.

As a commitment to the plan, Peugeot is putting the 208 Hybrid Air 2L on show to demonstrate the progress it’s making towards that goal and has released details of the vehicle in the lead up to the Paris motor show.

The 208 Hybrid Air 2L is based on a regular 208 1.2-litre PureTech 82, which has a fuel consumption of 4.5L/100km, but engineers replaced the engine with an experimental petrol and compressed air drivetrain which Peugeot refers to as Hybrid Air technology.

In ‘Air Mode’ the car is powered by compressed air and a pneumatic system consisting of a motor and pump in the engine bay. Peugeot says the mode is for use in urban environments and uses no petrol with zero CO2 emissions.

For highway use ‘Petrol Mode’ uses the 1.2-litre Pure Tech 82 three-cylinder petrol engine, which has had its efficiency increased by four percent with friction reduction modifications.

There’s also a ‘Combined Mode’ where petrol and air power work together for maximum acceleration, and an epicyclic automatic transmission replaces the standard five-speed manual gearbox.

To increase fuel efficiency further Peugeot has reduced the mass of the car by 100kg for a total of 860kg using lightweight weight alternative materials.

The floor pan, body panels, sides, doors and roof are made of carbon composites, as are the suspension coil springs which reduces unsprung weight, and the engine mounts, rails and side members were replaced with lighter aluminium versions.

Its special thin-walled stainless steel exhaust system is 20 per cent lighter than the standard part, improving fuel economy further still.

Fuel sapping air resistance has been reduced with cameras replacing door-mirrors, and the fitment of more aerodynamic tailgate spoiler and hubcaps, while low-resistance tyres cut road friction.

While the 208 Hybrid Air 2L demonstrates that the fuel consumption goals set by the French government may be possible, Peugeot said that production costs pose a greater challenge.

“The project includes one unknown quantity, however: it must be possible to affordably manufacture relevant technologies on an industrial scale by 2020,” Peugeot said in the statement.

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