208 hatchback adopts innovative Hybrid Air tech, which is part of Peugeot's efforts to produce a 141mpg car by 2020
2 October 2014

Peugeot has presented a new 208 Hybrid Air concept car at the Paris motor show.

The car is an evolution of the 2008 Hybrid Air prototype which Autocar drove earlier this year, and is Peugeot's answer to a challenge set by the French government to put a car into production by 2020 which is capable of returning 141mpg.

The concept is based on the 1.2-litre PureTech 82 208. In standard form, that model is capable of returning 62.7mpg and emits CO2 emissions of 104g/km.

Peugeot's engineers have reduced the 208's kerb weight from 960kg to 860kg, mainly by replacing part of the standard car's steel construction with composites and aluminium. 

A new composite floor pan is fitted, while some elements – such as the tailgate – have been redesigned to incorporate new materials. Carbon composites are also used for much of the 208's bodywork.

The standard car's 1.2-litre Puretech 82 petrol engine and five-speed manual transmission have been replaced by a hybrid drivetrain based on a mixture of petrol and compressed air. In the 2008 prototype, the system was able to produce fuel economy of 106mpg with estimated CO2 emissions of just 50g/km.

The system comprises a compressed air tank mounted below the boot coupled to a pair of hydraulic pumps and a new epicyclic transmission. 

Within the 1.2-litre engine itself, friction reduction and the use of new low-viscosity oil has improved efficiency by four per cent.

In terms of styling, the 208 Hybrid Air concept is lower than the standard car, and features revised air intakes, new bodywork to improve air flow around the windscreen, plus a rear spoiler.

Traditional side mirrors are replaced by rear-view cameras, while slimmer tyres developed by Michelin are also fitted.

Both the 208 and 2008 Hybrid Air concepts show Peugeot's ambition to bring a hyper-efficient model to market, but the technology is understood to be at least three years away from production. The French manufacturer has previously said it would need at least one other big partner to buy into the technology before it can be put into road cars.

Renault will also unveil its answer to the efficiency challenge in Paris. The firm's design boss Laurens van den Acker told Autocar at the recent Moscow motor show that the car wouldn't be based on an existing model: "It doesn't have an existing platform, because the existing platform would be too heavy.

"To be able to get these numbers you need a dramatic weight reduction and a dramatic aerodynamic improvement."

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Our Verdict

Peugeot 208
Can the 208 capture magic of old Peugeot superminis?

Peugeot has shown dynamic promise of late. Will the Peugeot 208 be a hit?

8 September 2014

To me this seems a far better answer to me than expensive and very un green batteries that will be expensive to replace. Im surprised more people havent got in on it. Imagine what VW would be able to do with it with there resources.

8 September 2014
d79m wrote:

Imagine what VW would be able to do with it with there resources.

It would need some flair in addition to mere resources. Sometimes it seems VW have everything apart from flair.

8 September 2014

Yet more talk of how wonderful Peugeot's Hybrid Air system is, but not much evidence that the system is anywhere near production ready. One suspects that this concept is designed to attract potential investors or partners needed for the company to develop it for production. I am sceptical about some of the fuel economy / CO2 figures being bandied about. It sounds very much like Peugeot is exploiting the stored energy of compressed air to "cheat" the EU fuel test cycle in the same way that petrol electric hybrid car manufacturers do. I am old enough to remember when PSA announced that it was working with Bosch on an integrated starter motor generator system very similar to Honda's IMA system. It sounded very promising at the time, but failed to materialise.

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