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Home » Archives » February 2013 » The Peugeot Citroën Air-Powered Hybrid: Why is this Different Than "Miracle Cars" of the Past?

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The Peugeot Citroën Air-Powered Hybrid: Why is this Different Than "Miracle Cars" of the Past?


Peugeot_Air_1 (11k image)
Photo: PSA Peugeot Citroen

I've seen it before. The 100 MPG Carburettor. The Car that runs on Water. Buses that run on "Learium", and yes, cars that run on Air.

In some cases, by "seen it before", I mean in Popular Science Magazine. In some cases, I mean in person. A guy in South Florida once showed me a car (a Chevy Impala, as I recall) that ran on water -- Well, water and some electricity. He towed around a trailer with a large, vertical tank on it. At night, it would make Hydrogen and Oxygen by electrolysis of water while plugged into the electric socket. The gaseous Hydrogen was fed into a modified carburettor, and the Oxygen was allowed to escape. With an all-night "charge", He could drive a few dozen miles. Efficient? No. Clever? Perhaps. Potentially Explosive? Definitely.

So what is it about the PSA Peugeot Citroën Air Hybrid that makes it different?

In the prototype car Peugeot describes, the energy from deceleration and breaking runs a hydraulic pump. The hydraulic fluid moves a partition, which compress air in a large cylinder.

When energy is desired back out of the system, the compressed air moves the partition, thus forcing the hydraulic fluid through a rather conventional hydraulic motor.

Hydraulic fluid? Hydraulic Pumps? A divider? A Compressed Gas? Citroën? Is this starting to sound familiar? It should because it is technology that has been associated with Citroën for 60 years.

Citroën's innovative hydropneumatic suspension system, first installed on a production car in 1954, uses basically the same components:

Peugeot_Air_2 (14k image)
Photo: Carbible.com

To this day, Citroën uses the same technology in the Hydractive 3 active suspension system on the Citroen C5.

Essentially, the "Air Hybrid" system in the Peugeot prototype is a giant suspension sphere turned on it's side.

It's PSA Peugeot Citroen's experience with Diesel/Electric Hybrids (Such as the Hybrid 4 technology in the Citroen DS5), efficient engines (Such as their new, very efficient 3 cylinder engine), and the years of experience with hydropneumatic systems, that makes this car different than "Miracle Cars" you may have heard of before.