February 24, 2013
Compressed Air Makes For An Impressive Auto
We are all familiar with the expression ‘the future is now.’ And with so many fantastical technical advances in the last decade, one could easily accede to the saying. But then I saw an article about a month ago and I knew the best is yet to come.
In January of this year, Peugeot Citroen announced they are but three years away from marketing the future of automobile travel to the world. In 2016, (and that is a mere three years away), we can expect a staggering leap forward in fuel economy. But just how do they plan to achieve this feat? Let me tell you.
Peugeot Citroen has announced an affordable, 5-passenger automobile that will be propelled by compressed air. Speaking to The Huffington Post, company spokesman Jean-Baptiste Thomas said, “We’re quite confident,” addressing their certainty in the operation and marketing of this new vehicle. This confidence may be derived from the fact Peugeot Citroen has already developed four ‘Hybrid Air’ prototypes and had them on the road for over 12,000 miles of travel.
As it is a hybrid, you will be able to select a fuel-use option that allows you to take the vehicle over 43 miles per hour on highways. But when the vehicle is selected for air-only, the car converts to a ZEV (zero emission vehicle). This is exciting news for anyone out there concerned with excessive pollution being spewed into the atmosphere.
In city driving, a driver of this Hybrid Air vehicle would be able to travel for upwards of 50 minutes without the necessity of gasoline. The automobile, much like the gas-electric hybrids that preceded it, utilizes onboard sensors that select the mode most appropriate for the current driving situation.
But what about style, you may ask? With too many previous fuel-efficient offerings on the market, the consumer has had to sacrifice style for function. Peugeot Citroen asserts the outward design of the car won’t change too much as the technology associated with a compressed air retrofit can easily be implemented in their current models.
The real story is under the hood. The Hybrid Air relies on a hydraulic pump that forces compressed air against fluid that activates the wheels. Pressure released in this interaction can easily be regenerated within 10 seconds of the vehicle coming to a stop, say at a red light.
Even before the first model roles off of a lot near you, Peugeot Citroen has big plans for this vehicular advancement. The Hybrid Air team announced they expect, by the year 2020, their new car will be able to travel 117 miles per gallon. With gas prices not expected to take a 180 degree turn, this is welcome news.
Peugeot Citroen’s announcement last month may seem groundbreaking but they are merely running with the baton in this next leg of the relay. Previous incarnations of compressed air vehicles include a UK advancement, the three-wheeled, air-fueled AirPod, announced in 2010. Using the same method for locomotion as the Hybrid Air, the AirPod is able to reach speeds of 50 miles per hour and, for gaming enthusiasts out there, is steered with a joystick. The AirPod, with a sticker price of only $10,000, will hopefully influence its descendant to aim for an affordable sale price, as well.
Image Credit: Peugot Citroen