Citroen says its innovative Hybrid Air powertrain system – which promises a reduced environmental impact and more affordable pricing than today’s conventional petrol-electric hybrids – should be ready for its small and city-sized production cars by 2016.
The result of a partnership between parent company PSA Peugeot Citroen and automotive technology developer Bosch, the Hybrid Air system combines a small-capacity petrol engine with a compressed air tank, a hydraulic pump/motor unit and an automatic transmission with an epicyclical gear train.
The Citroen C3 VTi 82 prototype headed to Geneva boasts a combined cycle fuel consumption of 2.9L/100km and average CO2
emissions of 69 grams per kilometre – easily bettering the 3.9L/100km and 90g/km ratings of the similarly sized petrol-electric Toyota Prius C. The non-hybrid petrol-powered C3 currently sold in Australia uses 7.0L/100km combined and emits 160g/km CO2
The Citroen C3 Hybrid Air can operate in three driving modes, including pure-electric air mode, petrol-only mode, and a combination of the two for peak performance.
Air mode operates up to speeds of 70km/h, with compressed air transmitted to the wheels via the hydraulic motor and gearbox. Citroen says this mode will be available between 60-80 per cent of urban driving time, with deceleration and braking energy used to recharge the compressed air unit.
Petrol mode is activated in higher-speed driving conditions, while hybrid mode kicks in when strong acceleration is required, delivering the powertrain’s 90kW peak output.
Enhancing efficiency further is a stop-start system and new 18-inch low-rolling-resistance Michelin tyres.
The Citroen C3 Hybrid Air prototype will debut in Geneva on March 5.