PSA Develop Hybrid Air Technology

PSA Peugeot Citroën – the formal title of the company that manufactures two of the three major French car brands – today revealed some rather encouraging technological innovation at the group's research and development centre in Vélizy, a stone's throw from Versailles.

A preview of PSA's attempt at a modular platform – like VW's brilliant MQB – was presented, as was new catalytic reduction technology that will keep the company's cars at the top of the 'clean' list, as they were in 2012. The two stand out exhibitions, however, were a hybrid drivetrain, using compressed air in place of electricity, as an alternative source of propulsion to petrol alone, and something called 'VeIV', which is a light electric car designed for the city.

PSA believe that 'Hybrid Air' (above), as it's called, will enable cars like the popular 208 to achieve under 70g/km CO2, which is considerably less than current comparable emissions figures. Cars equipped with the system could run on either the petrol engine or the compressed air power exclusively, but only up to a speed of 43mph under air power, which is aimed solely at city driving. The three-cylinder engine (seen in the current 208) that would be paired to the hybrid unit would be used for cruising at higher speeds on motorways. Overall fuel consumption could improve by 45% over a similarly powerful combustion-engined car, although we won't see any production models before 2016.

The VeIV electric city car, as you'll see below, certainly looks like a lot of fun and is surely PSA's answer to the Renault Twizy. Where the Twizy looks light and cheerful, however, the VeIV packs a more aggressive visual punch. With a dark paint job and luminous inserts, the VeIV's design has changed quite a bit since a white example was unveiled in 2011, but the signature chassis with two wheels placed close together at the back hasn't. 

Top speed is just over 60mph and range is cited as 100km - almost indentical to the Twizy. The body is constructed from fibreglass and polyester resin, whilst the car's frame largely consists of aluminium. A third seat and solid doors give the VeIV an obvious advantage over the Twizy, but whether it will be as fun to drive, however, will be interesting to see. 

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