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Peugeot Citroën unveil car that runs on air

  Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Peugeot Citroën has launched a prototype of the world’s first car to successfully run on air.

The ‘Hybrid Air’ technology, launched at the Geneva motor show this month, will feature a normal combustion engine along with a hydraulic system which stores and releases energy from the atmosphere.

This will enable the car to successfully run on either conventional petrol, air, or a combination of the two, removing the requirement for battery technology associated with electric hybrids.

The Hybrid Air is expected to be £1000 cheaper than electric alternatives, with a fuel economy of around 81 miles per gallon. Peugeot Citroën believes it will potentially reduce an average motorist’s fuel bill by 45 per cent.

With plans to bring the car to market by 2016, Peugeot Citroën appears to have uncovered the secret to environmentally friendly motoring which could potentially be adopted by the masses. The air compression system essentially works by utilising energy which is normally lost when a car slows down or brakes. The motor and pump, located in the engine bay, are supplied by a compressed air tank underneath the car, which runs parallel to the exhaust.

The Hybrid Air system is designed primarily for lighter use and is activated at speeds below 43mph; Peugeot Citroën estimate that this will enable users to utilise air power for 60-80 per cent of the car’s running time; motorists will not risk running out of compressed air because the car will be fitted with a sophisticated system that ensures it replenishes itself automatically and immediately.

Peugeot Citroën has been working on the vehicle in secret for more than two years at its research and development centre near Paris. They hope that by 2020 innovation will allow the car to achieve an average of 117 miles a gallon.

The revolutionary system will potentially fit to any normal-sized family car and will most likely feature on smaller models like the Peugeot 208. The design will not alter the shape or size of the vehicle, or reduce boot size, and will look identical to a conventional car from outside inspection.

“We are not talking about weird and wacky machines. These are going to be in everyday cars,” said a Peugeot Citroën spokesman.

This innovation is another breakthrough in the world automotive sector. Only recently have we seen impressive innovations in electric power with state-of-the-art hybrid models such as VW’s XL1. If the Peugeot model is commercialized sooner rather than later, we may see air technology cars being driven across the globe. The government will clearly hope users will eventually trade-in their less environmentally friendly cars and move towards these more carbon friendly alternatives.

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