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Peugeot postpones diesel-electric models for Oz

Tests continue: The Australian launch for the Peugeot 508 RXH is still up in the air as the diesel hybrid undergoes heat and dust testing.

Still no confirmed launch date for Peugeot 3008 and 508 hybrid diesels in Australia

16 Jul 2012

PEUGEOT Australia has been forced to indefinitely postpone a pair of ground-breaking diesel-electric all-wheel-drive hybrid models over concerns about their ability to handle the hot Australian summer.

The French company had previously hoped to introduce Hybrid4 versions of its 3008 and jacked-up 508 wagon (called RXH) by the end of this year, but now concedes the launch timing is up in the air and neither will be coming here any time soon.

Both models are powered by the same innovative diesel-electric powertrain – billed as a production world-first – which pairs a 120kW/300Nm 2.0-litre direct-injection common-rail four-cylinder driving the front wheels via a six-speed clutchless manual gearbox with a 27kW/200Nm electric motor mounted on the rear axle.

Claimed fuel consumption for the 3008 Hybrid4 version is just 3.8 litres per 100km, while the larger 508 RXH manages 4.2L/100km.

Peugeot claims that a diesel-hybrid powertrain emits some 35 per less carbon dioxide than an equivalent petrol-hybrid set-up.

While both cars have been on sale in Europe for several months, Peugeot Australia director Bill Gillespie said last week that he was recently advised the program had been halted for all markets outside of Europe as the company continues lengthy heat and dust testing.

23 center imageLeft: Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4.

“I was told three weeks ago that, at this point, it’s not slated for this market until they finish some more testing,” he said.

“That’s what we were told by the engineering division and they want to be 100 per cent certain that it’s going to be OK for that (hot weather).”

Despite the set-back, Mr Gillespie said the car-maker remained keen to bring the alternative-powertrain models here when – or if – they become available, even though volume projections would be very low.

“We’re not shifting away from that. I think in Australia it does play well. I think hybrids play pretty strong in this market. I don’t suspect we’re going to sell a lot of them, but to our buyer demographic I think hybrid does matter.

“And look, it’s a diesel hybrid, it’s a bit different.”

As we reported from England earlier this year, the 508 RXH was projected to kick off at around $60,000, representing a $4000 over the flagship non-hybrid GT Touring variant.

The delay also naturally applies to the recently announced 508 Hybrid4 sedan – unlike the other two, never officially confirmed for this market – which features the same powertrain in a more conventional sedan bodystyle.

The delay on its innovative diesel-electric models comes as Peugeot Australia begins to place a greater emphasis on petrol power at the lower end of its range.

Once a pioneer of diesel power in passenger cars, the company announced last week that it would offer no oil-burning option on the all-new 208 due in September, while its new 4008 crossover is also a petrol-only proposition.

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