Peugeot have taken one step ahead in the eco-car battle after debuting the prototype for their 2008 Hybrid Air model.
The 2008 Hybrid Air claims to be even more efficient than its other hybrid rivals by running on little else other than compressed air.
Hydraulic air motor
It features a conventional combustion engine, like all hybrids, along with a special hydraulic air motor and pump.
Compressed air is pumped into the motor’s cylinder using leftover energy from the conventional engine, plus energy from the wheels and heat from the brakes.
The air is then released to power the hydraulic motor and the car can then run on either air alone, just the conventional engine, or a combination of both.
Drivers can use the zero-emission air power for low-speed driving in cities and the feature is activated automatically when the car is driven as speeds of under 43mph.
When accelerating or climbing hills, hybrid mode can be engaged to use power from both engines, and the traditional engine can also be used for long-distance driving.
Current hybrids tend to rely on heavy and expensive batteries that are hard to dispose of and can cause their own environmental problems, plus the batteries can go flat and leave drivers stuck.
However, the new Peugeot needs no batteries and replenishes itself automatically using lost energy from slowing down and braking, and Peugeot hope the model could be the greenest hybrid made yet.
First revealed last year, Peugeot have estimated that the 2008 Hybrid Air will go into full production by 2016.
In the meantime, Peugeot still offer the regular 2008 model, which celebrated its 100,000th model made this February.
While not quite as green as its Hybrid Air counterpart, the engine options in the current 2008 all emit less than 135g/km of CO2. The most economical engine in the range is the 1.6-litre e-HDi diesel unit, which emits a low CO2 figure of just 98g/km.
In addition, the 2008 is very practical with 360-litres of boot space, which can be increased to 1,172-litres by folding the seats down.
It’s also the only vehicle in its category to offer Grip Control technology, a system that improves traction, and received the maximum five stars in the independent Euro NCAP safety tests.
Prices for the 2008 Hybrid Air are currently unknown, however the 2008 urban crossover is available from just £12,995.