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Hybrid4 gets diesel-electric drivetrain

Peugeot is set to launch the world’s first diesel hybrid, a 3008-based four-wheel-drive car, which it claims will offer 200bhp and 369lb ft and be capable of emitting just 99g/km of CO2.

Autocar has driven a prototype of the Hybrid4, which utilises a diesel-electric drivetrain that the firm says is less complex and uses more standard components than rival offerings.

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Under the skin, the Hybrid4 is an otherwise-conventional front-drive car, powered by a 163bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine fitted with a stop-start system.

However, the car’s rear axle has been modified to incorporate an electric motor (good for 36bhp and 147lb ft at full tilt) and twin driveshafts, which drive the rear wheels.

A battery pack and a pair of electronic control units have also been packaged under the boot floor. The hybrid system adds just 100kg to the weight of the car.

To reduce costs, Peugeot is using its existing ‘robotised’ six-speed ’box which is self-shifting thanks to the automatic clutch actuation and also comes with the option of wheel-mounted paddles.

The only connection between the two powertrains is a series of underfloor cables, some of which carry the electrical charge generated by the engine’s stop-start mechanism to the rear-mounted battery pack.

The Hybrid4 can run in front-drive, all-wheel drive, sport and purely rear-drive modes; the latter offers zero-emissions travel, though the range at city speeds is no more than a few miles.

Today’s prototype is already returning 109g/km, but sources say aerodynamic tweaks and low-resistance tyres could bring that down to less than 100g/km.

Peugeot engineers have just 20 months to finish the computer software that synchronises the two powertrains, and complete the testing in extreme conditions in Spain and Sweden.

This hybrid set-up requires few structural changes to basic platforms. It has been designed to fit both PSA’s Platform 2 (Citroën C4/Peugeot 308) and Platform 3 (Citroën C5/Peugeot 407).

Although the hybrid will cost at least 15 per cent more than a conventional top-spec 3008, sources say the hybrid premium will drop as the system is rolled out across more model lines.

Hilton Holloway

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