By: Amanda Froelich,
Over 3 million hybrid automobiles have been sold since 1999, and the innovative designs have only continued to rise in popularity. But now a new model is planning to be released which could potentially shift the future of Eco-friendly cars and transport.
Peugeot has recently developed (and has plans to mass produce) a new type of hybrid car – one that runs off of compressed air and could dramatically change the future of sustainable transport.
A new technology allows the hybrid car to run off of compressed air with gasoline as a back-up for longer journeys and high speeds.
Using compressed air over regular fuel has many advantages: First, energy is able to be stored with the capacity to release more power in a short period of time for quick acceleration. Second, Less toxic materials are produced. And finally, storage vessels are predicted to have much longer lifetimes.
However, there are some disadvantages to consider as well. The main concern is that the power released tends to be much higher when fully charged, and adapting this can be a challenge.
Different than other hybrid cars which need to be powered up at a power-point, this new design holds a pump that compresses air into a storage tank within the car. As the air is released, the energy of expansion is captured to drive the car. The maker of the model, Peugeot, estimates their cars will do 2.9 I/100km, releasing just 69g CO2/km, when they hit the market next year.
Part of what sets this design above others is the control system that utilizes the best combination of petrol power and compressed gas; it runs on air below 70kph and internal combustion at high speeds. Similar to other hybrid models, brake energy regeneration also stores energy when coming to a stop so it can be used when driving again.
Some critics believe this new hybrid car may have come to the market too late, seeing as electric and plug-in cars have already been received by hundreds of thousands. But because the Peugeot version may be the first of many new cars to utilize air as fuel, others predict it will still have a powerful impact and demand.
Regardless, Peugeot claims their first versions, using the Citroen C3 and Peugeot 208 models, will sell for less than existing hybrids. That alone may push their popularity and help others “go green” for the Earth.