Peugeot unveils model that will run on air
on 24/01/2013 00:00:00
The engine, which allows up to 80% driving on compressed air in cities, offers fuel economy of 2.9 litres of fuel per 100km (81mpg) and emits just 69g of carbon dioxide per kilometre.
"This breakthrough technology… represents a key step towards the two litre per 100km by 2020," said chief executive Philippe Varin.
Peugeot said what it called hybrid air technology could fit into small to midsize cars without any loss to storage space.
Whereas conventional hybrids use electric batteries to store energy, the compressed air system "allows the recuperation of energy from braking and slowing down", said the head of the project, Karim Mokaddem.
The revolutionary system will be able to be installed on any normal family car without altering its external shape or size or reducing the boot size, provided the spare wheel is not stored there. From the outside, an air-powered car will look identical to a conventional vehicle.
A spokesman said: "We are not talking about weird and wacky machines. These are going to be in everyday cars."
The company said that the air system created no extra dangers in a crash.
Motorists never run the risk of running out of compressed air late at night on a deserted country road because the car will be fitted with an artificial brain that ensures it replenishes itself automatically.
The air compresses and decompresses of its own accord as the car speeds up and slows down.