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PSA Peugeot Citroen has revealed details of an innovative new fuel-efficient Hybrid Air propulsion system that it plans to put into it small and city-sized production cars by 2016.

The Hybrid Air system is an alternative to a conventional petrol-electric hybrid set-up, with a compressed air tank taking the place of a battery pack, providing zero-emission driving ability in urban conditions and extending vehicle range.

PSA Peugeot Citroen says affordability is one of the major benefits of the Hybrid Air system, with the technology significantly cheaper for car makers to install than a battery-powered hybrid system – and therefore cheaper for new-car customers at the dealership.


The French auto group has plans to fit the Hybrid Air system to city cars and small cars with 61kW and 82kW petrol engines respectively, as well as to light commercial vehicles.

PSA estimates a Hybrid Air-equipped vehicle the size of the Citroen C3 or Peugeot 208 would achieve combined cycle fuel consumption figures of 2.9 litres per 100km and average CO2 emissions of roughly 69 grams per kilometre.

Similar to a conventional hybrid, the system can be operated in three modes: petrol power, with the petrol engine as the sole source of propulsion; air power, with the hydraulic motor alone transmitting energy to the wheels via the accumulators; and combined power, with the internal combustion engine and hydraulic motor working together.

PSA says its new hybrid system can lead to fuel savings of up to 45 per cent in city driving, translating to a 90 per cent increase in driving range compared with conventional engines with the same power outputs.

With the air tank stored beneath the car, PSA says its Hybrid Air system does not compromise boot capacity like the battery packs of conventional hybrids.

PSA says another advantage of Hybrid Air is its global viability, with the technology unaffected by climate and not reliant on an extensive maintenance network.

  • Grantj


  • F1orce

    Is it reliable?..

    • Zaccy16

      i doubt it because its a french thing but eventually it should get more reliable

      • Robin_Graves

        It will certainly be more reliable than a veedud polio but thats not really saying much.

    • Karl Sass

      Theoretically it should be more reliable than a conventional hybrid because filling/emptying a tank with air won’t wear it out (unlike a battery). I guess the compressor will wear out eventually, but it would still be cheaper to replace than a battery. 

      • F1orce

        Yeah true.

        But this thing doesn’t have the power and range of a traditional Hybrid..

        So quite pointless.

        • Karl Sass

          It’s power could be made to suit just like any hybrid. What is its range? I’m very curious.

          • F1orce

            The whole purpose behind Peugeot making this system is simply to just add all this to their Patent profile.

          • LowRezFez

            Seems like a more elegant engineering solution compared to Toyota’s Hybrid system. Time will tell of course.

          • Simon

            You dont have to actually make “all this” just to add it to your patent profile!

            You just need to patent the research. Theres is abslutely no obligation to take it all the way to production for a patent to be valid. AND no company is going to spend the hundreds of millions of dollars commercialising this kind of tech, or any tech just to add it to “their patent profile”.

            If it’s not commerical they simply file the patent and wait for other firms to trip over it!

            Peugeot are doing this because they have no cash to invest in R&D on Petrol Electric Hybrid’s. Which are more complex and more expensive to commercialise.

          • ABC

            Simon. Peugeot have a diesel Electric drivetrain on sale in Europe currently –  where the electric system powers the rear wheels giving limited 4 wheel drive. This new system probably came from the realisation that it is expensive to make diesel hybrid and that they need affordable, progressive cars in developing markets if they are grow. After a decade of being asleep at the wheel, PSA is finally waling up to the realities of needing to be a global company.

          • matt

            patent profile? i though chysler was messing around with this years ago aswell

        • Tony Abbotts No 1 fan

          It’s not pointless at all, as the story says it’s designed as a European city car, where in general terms range wont be as issue. If you have ever been to Europe & judging by your comment, you havent, you would then see the relevance to this technology 

        • http://www.bryanbyrtrenault.com.au/ Modern Man

          so an increase of up to 90% over conventional engines of the SAME power (i.e. petrol engines) means the range is lower?
          What calculator do you use?
          And wow they are trying to invent something new instead of following the crowd? bad business man, stop it or else the other manufacturers might need to pay you royalties.
          Its called intelectual property and the owner is the owner no matter what. same with every other invention ever made.

          • ABC

            The operative word is “over”. So to write it in a way that you can understand – range should be up to 190% of the donor car’s. Simple really.

        • ABC

          Pointless? Cheaper to make. Simpler in design. Lighter. It potentially extends range considerably. Yeah totally pointless.

        • Rj_bijer

          Lol…how can range not improve? They realise large improvements in evonomy!

      • Simon

        Pressure vessels still have a finite life, due to stress of compressing and decompressing. They’re prone to corrosion from moisture in the air pooling in the bottom of the vessel…ask anyone with an aircompressor with a tank on it in their garage, or an owner of a Mercedes 300SEL 3.5 with air suspension for that matter!

        It’ll be more reliable because it will have less moving parts, isnt prone to electrical fires etc from short circuiting batteries, and pneumatics have been well understood for a very long time. It doesnt require the same degree of precision as an automotive elecrtic motor. Does not generate EMI issues for other electrics etc etc

        • Drive

          Ever heard of composite tanks? Ultra-high air pressure containers and no corrosion. They also weigh a lot less than equivalent metal tanks.


    It will either be very noisy, not work properly or explode. This is more for the press and to patent than anything else.

    • GugaWedge

       And you know that for a fact because “if it is not petrol it can’t possibly work” right?

    • The Real Wile E

      They said that about petrol and they were right,,,at first

    • Liezel

      Just ignorant. Do everyone a favor and research “air car” before you type such drivel.

    • Robin_Graves

      All propulsion systems have to store potential energy either chemically, electrically, kinetically or mechanically. Each has its own hazards and problems.

      • Golfmother

        Yer like the  exploding nightmare the G6E .

        • http://www.bryanbyrtrenault.com.au/ Modern Man

          wtf are you on about now?

        • Drive

          Th resident stoner speaks……

    • http://www.bryanbyrtrenault.com.au/ Modern Man

      yep all those compressed air cylinders you see in work shops, tyre inflators, scuba tanks, aeroplanes (they are pressurised cylinders BTW), etc explode everyday of the week.
      They have bleed vavles to stop the pressure from getting too high which is why the hydrogen fuel cars are not allowed to be stored inside for extended periods due to the toxic fumes, whereas air is, well… air. so is alot safer.

    • Asdfasdf

      The French just like to do things differently for the sake of doing it differently. But seriously an air tank of that size or even 10x bigger can’t store enough (or even near)  energy to propel a car for 1min from rest. There’s nothing new, just using a gas bottle to store energy instead of a battery. But the voltage from the battery’s more consistent whereas the pressure inside a gas bottle can vary a lot. And if it comes from Citroen or Peugeot, it is expected not to work properly if not explode lol.

      • Axnweb

        how would you know? 
        do you even know what pressure a tank like this can store?Standard Scuba compressed to 200 Bar (which is 200 times the atmosphere pressure) some going up to 300 Bar. and some military grade SCUBA tanks rated up to 700 Bar which means that a 6 liter tank will hold 4,200 liters of compressed air, which is more than enough to propel the cars mentioned

  • Golfschwein

    Will it be mandated that there has to be a noise associated with it to avoid pedestrians being surprised? I propose a farting sound. It seems ingenious. I hope it works that way, too.

    • Zaccy16

      hahaha, hopefully a fart noise!

    • Karl Sass

      Or a fully sick blowoff valve lol

  • Mal

    Very cool.  I like

  • Shak

    Just like any other up and coming new propulsion tech it wont find any serious backing because big oil cant make their billions out of it. So dont expect it in your car anytime in the near future. 

  • Golfmother

    The indians have been working on compressed air propulsion only car  for a few years , this idea deserves to be looked at seriously , no doubt others would be too .

    • Stop_the_boats

      interesting .

      • Robin_Graves

        Do you turn your head to the opposite side when you reply to one of your own comments with the other personality, like you are having a conversation? Seriously – you need help.

    • http://www.bryanbyrtrenault.com.au/ Modern Man

      air was actually one of the original types of propulsion when cars were invented.

    • Asdfasdf

      How does it compare with cow carts?

      • Golfmother

        Less pollution and its not sacred so it can be humanely killed at the end of its life .

  • Elitist

    Europeans leading advancements in technology….im soo surprise….

  • Force-15

    Fingers crossed that this actually makes it to production. Every few years stories on compressed-air cars show up on the mainstream media but these projects never seem to get off the ground. That said the technology developed so far is impressive. Speaking of which, does anyone else remember the Di Pietro Rotary Air Engine, or doesn’t it count (according to some other CaraAdvice commenters) because it was developed in Australia?

  • Karl Sass

    What a brilliant idea (or adaptation of existing technology). It has many benefits over a hybrid with a battery storing electrical energy. Cheaper to produce, lighter, more reliable/serviceable, no need for rare earth materials. Although the pressure in those tanks must be extremely high to store enough energy.

    • F1orce

      Yeah those tanks must be prone to explosions..

      • ABC

        And they wouldn’t think to make them strong enough for the job. You must avoid all compressed gas cylinders then?

      • Love the comments here

         When was the last time you saw a compressed gas cylinder spontaneously explode. Get a grip on life will you

      • Drive

        Of course a petrol tank would never pose an explosion risk…..

        • F1orce

          Petrol in a tank would not explode the same way compressed gas/air would..

          In car engines, the fuel is heavily compressed and atomized in the cylenders before it can be ignited.

          So yeah, whatever..

          • Karl Sass

            Diesel has to be compressed before ignition, petrol doesn’t. I’ve seen people killed in car accidents first hand from the petrol tank exploding (emergency service member). If the pressure inside the tank is increased, so is the strength of the tank, it can all be calculated. If it did explode, it wouldn’t burn afterwards. It’s still much safer, but nothing is perfect.

          • Drive

            So go light a smoke next time you fill up.

            I just want to test this “survival of the fittest” business…….

  • Haji

    Very slow no doubt…



    • Robin_Graves

      Its pneumatic over hydraulic by the looks.  No electric motor at all

  • Peanut

    Solar panels on the roof could power the compressor while parked to recharge the air tank.

  • LowRezFez

    What I great idea!

  • LeStori

    Compress air or pneumatic engines have exisistence since the middle of the 19th Century Supposedly a car powered by a pneumatic motor ran on a test track in Chaillot, France, on July 9, 1840

  • Aus_poppa

    If I didn’t know it was January I would have thought it was April 1st. This sounds like a twenty first century version of alchemy, or the cars that will run on water.

    Where is the compressed air going to come from? That is apart from reversing the hydraulic motor on braking to replenish the tank. Will it be achieved by using the (so far) free air at service stations. Maybe they will charge for the air because they won’t sell as much petrol, especially as they would presumably have to upgrade their compressed air facilities.

    Anyway between now and 2016 – or later when/if it arrives – Renault will have sold a lot of its Zoe, which seem to be the first affordable mass market electric car.

    • Robin_Graves

      Its purely for the regenerative braking. The ice could top up the reservoir when needed.

  • LowRezFez

    Apparently heating the air in the air cylinder provides more energy… This will be known as the Politician mod.

  • Force-15

    According to what I’ve read on a Drive article, Peugeot’s “Hybrid Air” system doesn’t use compressed air. Rather, it uses nitrogen gas that is kept in a closed system. That way the car doesn’t need to be filled with compressed air whilst pure nitrogen gas would be less reactive/damaging to engine and gas storage components.

    • Mal

       Citroen’s Hydractive suspension utilizes nitrogen gas as well (and has done so for a very long time.  I’m sure PSA know what they are doing here

  • Velocipede

    I have an environmentally friendly vehicle. It makes next to no pollution when it is in power mode and once it is on a downward gradient it uses absolutely no energy to propel it at all.
    The power plant is a hybrid and is fueled by energy from many different sources. It has a very long range and is ideally suited as a city vehicle.

  • Poison_Eagle

    The plug-in hybrid version would have a tyre valve next to the fuel tank lol. I hope this is legitimate science, I would think so given PSA is a high profile company, and it is so much better than mining lithium , or a Nickel battery factory with an “exclusion zone” the size of Chernobyl.  I’ll believe it when its on the market.