This Citroen Hypnos concept is the world’s first fully functioning diesel hybrid, and its drivetrain will find its way into a production car by 2011.
The Hypnos is powered by a conventional 200bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel, driving the front wheels. At the back there is a 50bhp electric motor fuelled by a nickel hydride battery. Citroen says it will return 62.7mpg and sub-120g/km CO2 emissions, figures that trump those of the most frugal 1.6-litre diesel C4.
The transmission is an electronically actuated manual, because a conventional auto would sap too much power and there is no DSG transmission available within the PSA group.
The diesel hybrid drivetrain is earmarked first for the Citroen DS5, (not to mention the Peugeot 3008). The same technology that powers the Hypnos and DS5 will fit the DS4, while Citroen has not ruled out making the smaller DS3 available with a more conventional two-wheel-drive hybrid set-up.
A prototype assembly line has already been put together at PSA's Soachaux plant, which has built several Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4 development mules, which uses the same diesel-electric drivetrain as the Citroen.
Citroen is also being careful to ensure that its hybrid systems can work equally well with petrol or diesel and be engineered for either without considerable additional cost.
While Citroen is confident on improving further the performance, economy and emissions of its hybrid drive between now and launch, the really big step will come with the next generation that will be powered by lithium ion batteries such as those currently available in the Tesla Roadster.
This will coincide with the introduction of plug-in technology, allowing another giant improvement in efficiency and reduction in emissions, though these innovations are not due before the middle of the next decade.