The New Hybrid Vehicle That Runs on Compressed Air

Competition within the hybrid automotive market has grown hot and heavy in the past several years. It’s no secret that the Toyota Prius currently dominates the market. Although their vehicles are still towards the higher end of the price point consumers will accept, their prevalence on the road shows that the 50 mpg these vehicles regularly achieve balances the purchase out for the average man on the street. Some other vehicles have risen as contenders recently, especially the Chevy Volt, a completely electric car that claims an astounding gas mileage rate. But manufacturers still don’t feel they have fully cracked the code, especially since sales have not expanded as quickly as many anticipated. Can a new hybrid vehicle that runs on compressed air finally do it?

It’s known as the “Hybrid Air”, and it’s being constructed by the engineering team of Peugeot Citroen. It’s currently just a prototype, but the hybrid engine runs thanks to a tank of compressed air that sits mounted inside the transmission. The air pressed out of this tank turns a separate hydraulic motor, and the rest of the power comes from a motor running off of a battery. In theory this should pull some of the required effort off of the electric system, meaning the battery should run longer, prolonging the life of the vehicle in between trips to the charging station.

All in all, it sounds like the Peugeot Hybrid Air might be a true alternative that removes all fossil fuel requirements. But you’ll have to look deeper to decide if you are willing to take the limitations along with the incredible positives. On one side, this new vehicle will average over 115 miles per gallon. That makes it affordable, and truly the greenest four wheel consumer vehicle on the planet. But the flip side is that the Hybrid Air hits its speed limit at just over 40 mph. Obviously this is not a vehicle that could hold its own on the highway, so your usage would be relegated to trips around the city. For many people that alone is enough, and the limitations won’t matter.

Regardless, it’s going to take some time before the general consumer can get his hands on one of these vehicles for a test drive. According to the engineering team developing the Hybrid Air, the prototype won’t be available for review for at least three years. That’s discouraging news to green drivers looking for the next big thing, but it also means that Peugeot will have all of that time to further refine the vehicle, and ideally pick up the mantle of the best hybrid vehicle on the road. Even if the mpg rate were to come down slightly the sustainability of the vehicle will not be impacted. Compressed air has zero carbon footprint, and if that remains the primary output of the Hybrid Air than the sky is truly the limit. Keep your eyes posted on sites likeĀ, to see if they are as impressed by these vehicles. A reduced insurance rate would certainly help offer that additional incentive to get this vehicle out into the market faster than previous hybrids.

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