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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Peugeot set to launch the world’s first diesel hybrid

PEUGEOT plans to be the first manufacturer to offer a small family car with a diesel-electric hybrid power unit. It will be a version of the new 308, revealed last week, and will be on sale before the end of 2010.

The 3008 Hybrid4 is an otherwise-conventional front-drive car, powered by a 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine with 200 bhp and 369 lb ft fitted with a stop-start system. However, the car’s rear axle has been modified to incorporate an electric motor with 36 bhp and 147 lb ft which drive the rear wheels. A battery pack and a pair of electronic control units have also been packaged under the boot floor. The hybrid system adds just 100kg to the weight of the car.

Peugeot have chosen not to develop a new CVT gearbox as used by most hybrids and will use an existing semi automatic six-speed gearbox which is self-shifting thanks to the automatic clutch actuation and also comes with the option of wheel-mounted paddles.

The only connection between the two power trains is a series of underfloor cables, some of which carry the electrical charge generated by the engine’s stop-start mechanism to the rear-mounted battery pack. This type of layout is sometimes referred to as a 'through the road' hybrid.

The Hybrid4 can run in front-drive, all-wheel drive, sport and purely rear-drive modes; the latter offers zero-emissions travel, though the range at city speeds is no more than a few miles.

Toyota have so far chosen not to develop a diesel hybrid citing the extra weight of a diesel compared to a petrol ICE.

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