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Peugeot Announces Air-Powered Hybrid

The Peugeot Air-Hybrid could lead the way to more affordable hybrids.

By combining a compressed-air powered engine with an internal combustion engine, Peugeot claims it can achieve up to 117 mph.

French automaker Peugeot Citroen is introducing a new player into the hybrid engine game, and it doesn’t use electricity or solar power, or anything quite so 19th Century. Instead it goes back even further, to 18th Century advancements in hydraulics. By combining a compressed-air powered engine with an internal combustion engine, Peugeot claims it can achieve up to 117 mph.

It’s an innovative system – one that Peugeot has apparently been spending the past decade testing – because unlike other gas hybrids engines, Peugot’s doesn’t use batteries, like electric cars, and wouldn’t require refilling, like hydrogen-powered cars.

That’s the really cool part about Peugeot’s hybrid – it stores and releases hydraulic energy as needed, meaning there’s no chance of completely running out of air. The air-powered engine only works at slower speeds, however – the gasoline engine takes over at highway speeds. 

Hot Wheels Chevy Camaro

The Peugeot Air Hybrid will not require that half the car be open. 

The company also claims it has designed its system so that it can be retrofitted into any car, without even sacrificing trunk space. You do have to give up your spare tire, however, and that’s literally, not a reference to your waistline. Peugeot announced this week that it will begin selling its first air-hybrid car, based off a Peugeot 208, as early as next year.

Peugeot has a lot riding on this new technology, which, if it works as promised, could be revolutionary. The French automaker has been struggling in recent years in the wake of the European financial crisis and in the aftermath of recently strengthened French labor laws.

Peugeot claims that air-hybrids will cost around $1,500 less than electric hybrids. Watch the video below to learn more about how the air-hybrid technology works.

Written by Lewis Shaw

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