Peugeot, the French carmaker, is planning to reveal its air-powered car this year as its new subcompact models come into production. Based on the original subcompact model 208, the car with have a hybrid-like engine, combining a regular gasoline-powered engine with a new propulsion system that runs on compressed air. Officials from Peugeot said the new air-powered model 208 could possibly reduce fuel bills by up to 80 percent when driven in cities.
The novel system works by utilizing a standard internal combustion engine, highly-advanced hydraulics, a modified transmission, along with a centralized air cylinder that stores highly-compressed air. This allows the car to be run on either gasoline or air, or a combination of both.
The premise of a compressed air-powered car is not lashing two heavy-duty fire extinguishers to back of a minivan, it is a little more sophisticated than that. Rather than using an ignition from a fuel-air mixture to drive the pistons, this engine will use compressed air to do the work, forcing the piston up to top dead center with a force of up to 4,500 psi.
Filling the air cylinders back to full is not done with a bicycle pump, standard air compressor, or any other external devices, it is filled by the car itself. Peugeot researchers stated the air compression system can recycle all energy normally lost as heat when braking or slowing down. The pump to fill the air cylinder and the gasoline-powered motor and located in the engine bay. As the car slows, the force of a reduce speed kicks on the compressor , like an exhaust brake on a large diesel-powered truck, filling the tank with new air to be used for piston compression.
The air-powered hybrid system would only be used for driving in urban areas, automatically activated when the car drops to a speed of under 43 mph, Peugeot stated. The company predicts that by 2020, their subcompact models, using the new engine, should achieve 117 miles per gallon. This revolutionary “Hybrid Air” propulsion system – the first built to combine compressed air and liquid fuel – is a breakthrough in hybrid car technology, expensive batteries will no longer be needed. The company stated the cars with the Hybrid Air system, which are on sale in Europe, will be 1,000 euros less expensive than current available hybrid models.
For the last two years, over 100 of the best automotive scientists and engineers have been developing Peugeot’s top-secret air-powered car at their development center located just south of Paris. Philippe Varin, chief executive of Peugeot, stated the Hybrid Air system is the cornerstone of efforts to restore the affluences of the historic auto manufacturer.
Peugeot stated the groundbreaking system will be able to be fitted to any standard family car without changing the external shape or size or reducing trunk space. The potential air-powered model with look exactly like the conventional gasoline-powered one. A spokesman from the company explained these cars are not unconventional, futuristic-looking machines, they are everyday cars. So, as Peugeot reveals the 2016 models, fitted with their air-compressed system, automotive critics say that they entire industry will be watching.
By: Alex Lemieux
Picture: harry_nl – Flickr License