Citroen air-powered hybrid technology to appear in Geneva

As part of its display for the show, Citroen will showcase a C3 VTi 82 Hybrid Air prototype which is fitted with the air-driven hybrid technology.

The Citroën C3 Hybrid Air produces CO2 emissions of just 69g/km with fuel consumption reduced by a third to achieve a record-breaking 97mpg over a combined cycle. In an urban city driving environment, Citroen estimates fuel consumption and CO2 are reduced by 45 per cent compared with a standard C3 fitted with a more typical internal combustion engine.

The Hybrid Air powertrain combines a compressed air system with a conventional petrol engine, and it could possibly be installed to other standard Peugeot or Citroen models including the Peugeot 208 as well as the Citroen C3.

The air-powered technology operates alongside a standard petrol engine by positioning a motor and a pump in the unit’s engine bay. This is then fed by a compressed air tank situated underneath the car, which runs parallel to the exhaust.

To make this powertrain function, energy is garnered from the vehicle’s regenerative braking system included standard, and that energy is sufficient to refill the underneath tank with more air.

The petrol engine used for Hybrid Air powertrains will likely produce in a region of 82bhp and 110bhp depending on the size of the vehicle.

Cars with the Hybrid Air powertrain can run either petrol or air power alone, or under a combination of the two systems.

On models like the Citroen C3 prototype, these different powertrain settings are distinguished with the terms Air Mode, Petrol Mode and Combined Mode.

Air Mode can drive the car at speeds of up to 43mph; it uses the energy garnered from compressed air, and transmits it to the wheels via the hydraulic motor and gearbox. Depending on the amount of traffic, this mode will be active between 60 and 80 per cent of urban driving time.

Petrol Mode as expected relies solely on the vehicle’s petrol engine and is recommended by Citroen for driving outside of urban areas.

Combined Mode sees the engine and compressed air unit work together, particularly during pick-up and strong acceleration, with a significant boost effect delivering performance comparable to that of an engine found in much larger and typically more powerful hatchbacks.

The Citroen C3 Air Hybrid prototype will be available for the public to view at the Geneva Motor Show on 5 and 6 March 2013. This hatchback could form the basis of a future production model, which would be available from Perrys Citroen Dealerships based in Barnsley, Huddersfield and Milton Keynes.

You can view our latest Perrys Car Video Test Drive Reviews here