A key step towards the heart of the hybrid range

With the HYbrid Air technology, Peugeot confirms on the one hand its strategy of reducing fuel consumption and CO2  emissions and on the  other  hand its pioneering nature,  with  a  new breakthrough solution.

In  fact,  the  HYbrid Air combines petrol  with  compressed  air  in a  full-hybrid  solution. This technology is a key step in achieving the goal of 2.0-litres/100km,  a feature destined to become widespread due to its simplicity, durability and international character.

Hybrid strategy

Peugeot has set itself the goal of reducing the average CO2 emissions of its range to 116g/km  in

2015 without  sacrificing driving pleasure. To achieve this, it is investing in a range of technologies which are already present on its vehicles and permit substantial progress: continuous improvement of the efficiency of the internal combustion engines, a petrol and diesel engine down-sizing strategy, widespread use of the Stop & Start, electric vehicles, etc.

The accomplished HYbrid4, diesel-electric hybrid, is part of this process. Launched as a world first by Peugeot on the 3008 Crossover, it was then extended to the 508 RXH and the 508 Saloon HYbrid4. The 20,000 customers of the HYbrid4 technology  have discovered a new driving experience the like of which they would not have experienced before, combining performance, simplicity  of use, quiet operation while protecting the environment with CO2 emissions from 88g/km.

With the 2008 HYbrid Air, Peugeot is innovating once more in the interests of the environment and of its customers in all of its markets.   In fact, this breakthrough  technology  is introduced on the 2008, the new urban crossover developed by and for three continents. It is the natural medium for this new drivetrain, which combines petrol and compressed air to fulfil the expectations of customers and rise to the increasing challenges of the motor industry.

The HYbrid Air technology is an essential step towards the goal of reducing fuel consumption to just 2.0-litres/100km. To achieve this, it combines the continuous improvements of the engine and the weight-saving available through the design of new platforms.

HYbrid Air, the facts

The specification for this technology  set clear objectives: substantial reduction of fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, on all continents, by means of affordable technology  which can be applied to vehicles and light commercial vehicles in the B and C segments.

In response to this, the HYbrid Air combines tried and tested technology:  the new generation of 3- cylinder petrol engines and compressed air. Over eighty patents testify to the expertise mobilised for this important R&D (research and development) work.

Principle of operation

The HYbrid Air combines two energies to achieve the highest efficiency in various situations. So, the compressed air will  assist, or even take the place of, the petrol  engine during the phases which consume the most energy: acceleration and moving off.

This technology  uses certain  components  new to the motor  industry  but widely  tested in other sectors such as aeronautics. The HYbrid Air consists of:

  • an energy tank, containing pressurised air, installed under the body in the central tunnel,
  • a low pressure tank at the rear suspension crossmember, acting as an expansion bottle,
  • a  hydraulic  unit  consisting  of  a  motor   and  a  pump,  installed  under  the  bonnet  on  the transmission.

This latter  consists of a EGC (Electronically  Gearbox Control) epicyclic drivetrain  to manage the distribution  between the two motors. It replaces the mechanical gearbox and in addition offers automated gear changes.

The internal combustion engine is the latest generation 3-cylinder petrol engine. It benefits from the very  latest  technology:  optimisation   of  the  weight  and  compactness  by  means  of  maximum integration  of  the  components,  reduction  of  internal  friction  by means of  the  use of  ‘Diamond Carbon’ coating, thermo-management, split-cooling for a faster warm-up, etc.

So, the HYbrid Air has the important  advantage  of being compatible  with  the existing platform benefitting occupant space, modularity  and the volume of the petrol tank which remain unchanged.

Three modes: Air (ZEV), Petrol, and Combined

The driver controls the two energy sources to achieve the highest overall efficiency possible in the current situation. Switching between the three modes available is completely natural for the driver.

In the Air (ZEV) mode, only the energy contained in the compressed air will drive the vehicle. As it depressurises, the air occupies an increasing amount of space in the energy tank and so displaces a corresponding volume of oil.  This is an energy carrier which supplies the hydraulic motor coupled to the epicyclic drivetrain. As the internal combustion engine is switched off, the vehicle moves without consuming any fuel or emitting any CO2.

This mode comes into its own when driving in town.

In Petrol  mode,  only  the  1.2-litre  VTi 3-cylinder  petrol  engine powers  the  vehicle. This engine benefits from the latest technology  to offer, compared to the previous generation, a reduction in weight of 21kg, friction  reduced by 30% and advanced thermo-management to reach the optimum operating temperature more quickly.

This mode is particularly suited to steady speeds on main roads and motorways.

In the Combined mode, the petrol engine and hydraulic motor operate simultaneously  to move the vehicle,  in  proportions  adjusted  according  to  the  situation  to  achieve optimum  fuel  economy. Adaptable, the HYbrid Air can supply the hydraulic motor  from two sources. While the quantity  of energy contained in the pressurised air tank is sufficient to fulfil  the driver's request, the hydraulic motor  operates using this source. Then, if necessary, it  can be supplied by the hydraulic  pump directly.

This mode is intended in particular for the transitional  phases in town and on the open road (moving off, acceleration).

The energy tank is filled in two ways. On deceleration (on braking or releasing the accelerator), the speed is reduced not by application  of the pads to the brake discs but by the resistance to the compression of  the  air  in  this  accumulator.  The alternative  consists of  filling  by  restarting  the internal combustion engine; in this situation, some of the energy produced by the petrol engine is used to compress the air.

In both cases, the maximum energy capacity of the pressurised accumulator is reached very quickly - in just ten seconds.

On the way to 2.0-litres/100km

The adaptability of the HYbrid Air allows it to offer numerous advantages. By using tried and tested components, its durability  makes it suited to the wide range of road conditions encountered across the continents. Remarkably, this innovative technology has the potential to become the heart of the range as an international hybrid. Customers of vehicles and light commercial vehicles in segments B and C will experience:

  • urban driving in Air (ZEV) mode up to 80% of the time, therefore with no fuel consumption,
  • with a resulting 45% reduction in fuel consumption when driving in town,
  • smooth driving due to the automation of the transmission,
  • unchanged occupant space and modularity  and unchanged fuel tank capacity,
  • the peace of mind of tried and tested components.

On the current generation of B segment vehicles, the HYbrid Air considerably reduces consumption and CO2 emissions. In fact, following  the homologation cycle test, the figures are 2.9-litres/100km and 69g/km.

The HYbrid Air is a key step towards the 2.0-litres/100km in association with  other technological advances. In fact, this record fuel consumption will  be achievable with the contribution  of the innovations relating  to the petrol engine and the platform.  As regards the engine, the down-sizing strategy, the thermo-management, the combustion ... are important  progress areas. The platform  is the modular construction component at heart of the design and manufacture of a new model. The use of lightened materials  and innovative industrial  processes will  permit significant  reductions in weight.

An innovative R&D model

Such an ingenious idea cannot result from a conventional development programme. So, the HYbrid Air technology  is the result of a project  which mobilised  200 people on the same platform.  The expertise represented, from the development of a drive train  to the strategic  vision and including customer surveys, worked closely with strategic suppliers, including Bosch.

Finally,  the  HYbrid Air was developed in financial  partnership  with  the  ‘Investing  in the  Future Programme’ of the Ademe, the French Environment and Energy Management Agency.

Press contacts


Pierre-Yves Etienney \ +33(0) 762 629 891



Present in nearly 160 countries, with more than 10,000 points of contact, Peugeot combines rigorous design, appeal and passion in all its activities.

In 2012, the Marque achieved 1,700,000 sales worldwide,  reinforced its position as the 4th marque in Europe, accelerated its internationalisation in the major growth markets and continued its range enhancement. Peugeot is reaffirming its environmental commitment  by introducing diesel micro-hybridation and the powering of three HYbrid4 models using innovative full diesel hybrid technology.

Peugeot is the only marque to offer a complete mobility  product range with cars and utility  vehicles, scooters, bicycles and a wide range of services, including the Mu mobility  service.

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