French car manufacturer Peugot has developed a new type of hybrid vehicle that runs on both gasoline and compressed air. The new “Hybrid Air” system promises to reduce CO2 emissions and also save consumers money on automobile and gas expenditures.
The system works similar to other hybrid vehicles by switching from gas to air depending on the speed of the automobile. When the automobile’s speed drops below 43 mph, the engine will switch from gas to air. As the automobile slows or brakes, air is pulled in from around the vehicle and compressed, creating stored energy. This energy is later released by expanding the compressed air which creates the energy that is necessary for the vehicle to run.
Designed for city use, the Hybrid Air system will be available during 60-80% of driving time and automatically replenishes itself, so drivers won’t ever have to worry about running out of compressed air. Puegot believes the system has the potential to reduce gasoline bills by up to 80% while driving in cities and predicts that the system could garner up to 117 miles to the gallon by 2020.
The Hybrid Air system utilizes mechanical components that would be found in most vehicles, and therefore the technology can be used in any other normal car without altering the car’s shape or size. Mechanical components include a traditional internal combustion engine, motor, and pump while also adding special hydraulics, an adapted gear box and compressed air cylinders.
Peugot expects that cars outfitted with the Hybrid Air will be about £1,000 cheaper than current hybrid models.
While the air powered car concept has been around for some time, this is the first time that an air powered vehicle is being introduce for mainstream consumption. The concept was developed at Peugot’s R&D facility in Velizy, France where the company says it has 100 scientists working on the technology and expects the automobile to hit the road in 2016.