The technology will, at first, arrive in the form of the Citroen DS5, then gradually work its way in to one-third of the brand’s new premium range of cars.
The use of a diesel hybrid not only promises a considerable fuel saving and a drop of up to 35 per cent in carbon dioxide emissions compared to a same-sized car, it will also enable Citroen to offer a new breed of four-wheel-drive, with the driver having a choice of front-wheel-drive from the diesel engine, rear-wheel-drive from electric motors or all-wheel-drive with both systems engaged.
It is this new breed of drivetrain that has required PSA Citroen to launch projects at its Mulhouse and Sochaux factories to pilot engineer new production lines and processes to enable not just installation of the new rear axle assembly but to also allow it to be fitted to several models across the Citroen product line.
This is a highly complex process, because it involves the assembly of both conventional mechanical parts and newer electrical components.
By using a full-scale 3D model to create a virtual workshop, team leaders and technicians are identifying ways to drive improvements in both efficiency and quality.
These simulations are designed to optimise use of floor space, enhance workstation ergonomics and generally facilitate handling and assembly while streamlining logistics flows and the outcomes will also be used to prepare precise specifications for suppliers.
Over recent months teams at the Mulhouse plant’s mechanical assembly unit have deployed a series of lean manufacturing projects aimed at improving the organisation of the workshop that will assemble the new electric drivetrain. PSA Citroën’s lean manufacturing enables efficiency, quality and costs to be optimised through teamwork.
Citroen has demonstrated its hybrid technology in a unique range of vehicles, including a standard Citroen C4, an advanced concept car, the C-Airscape that set the stage for the new Citroen C5 and, most recently, a hybrid version of its world-beating Citroen C4 WRC rally car, that has proven that this technology has a role to play in the highest levels of motorsport.
Launched at the Geneva Motor Show this year, the Citroen DS Inside heralds a new range of Citroen models that emphasise creativity, strong and emotional styling, quality in presentation and finish, unique driving sensations and functional qualities.
The first production car to revive one of Citroen most famous names will the Citroen DS3, set for launch next year. This new model, which will set above the Citroen C3, will be matched by the launch of Citroen DS4 and, with the new hybrid drivetrain, the Citroen DS5 in 2011.