Superbowl’s giant commercials for American hybrid cars have hidden this: French carmaker Peugeot PSA rocked two vehicles hybrid models that should be sold by 2010, and within the next 5 years if it can team up with a partner among suppliers or other carmakers.
As almost every time in the car industry, the reason is based on solely economics. Manufacturing diesel hybrids brings new heavy cost, for instance 5,000-6,000 euros more for the powertrain. And they also need to lower the producing costs for the batteries, electric motor and braking systems.
The two demonstration cars ? a Peugeot 307 and Citroen C4 (in picture) ? are said to cheaply consume 3.4 litres/100km (69mpg), some 25% better than a similar vehicle equipped with a petrol hybrid system. They are also using the Stop&Start system which enables them to switch to HDi diesel engine.
In urban area (where almost drivers live), the car drives 100% electrically with low noise and little pollution. Even on highways, when the diesel engine is the main power source, the electric motor will be still providing up to 35% extra boost for acceleration when overtaking. No four-wheel-drive demonstration car has been unveiled, because “drivers of those vehicles were considered less interested in fuel efficiency,” Jean-Martin Folz, chairman of PSA Peugeot-CitroŽn, said.