Transport planning, the PSA air-hybrid, fuel cell collaboration and crowd-sourcing

January 24, 2013 § Leave a comment

hybrid-air_zoomCompressed-air hybrid tech isn’t a new idea, but it looks as if PSA Peugeot Citroen could be the first major European manufacturer to make a go of it. This week PSA unveiled a powertrain concept it’s calling Hybrid Air, said to represent “a key step towards the 2l/km car by 2020” (over 140mpg). This supplements a petrol engine with a tank of compressed air for energy storage, which drives a motor via a hydraulic pump – a solution half the weight of a battery-electric hybrid system and much simpler and cheaper to produce. The tank is filled or ‘charged’ under regenerative braking, and the car is capable of using air power alone for 60-80% of the time at speeds of up to 43mph; fuel savings of 45% are cited. In the Peugeot 208/Citroen C3, it could bring emissions down to 69g/m and fuel consumption to 97.4mpg. (Incidentally, when it comes to air cars, it’s worth keeping an eye on this little lot).

PSA has also been showing off developments including its new global modular vehicle platform, selective catalytic reduction (SCR) for diesel engines which reduces nitrous oxide emissions and gives 2-4% fuel economy enhancements, a mild-hybrid solution called Eco-Hybrid (petrol and diesel) promising 15% fuel economy improvements; the latest iteration of the VelV electric quadricycle; and a plug-in hybrid concept called HYdole, good for all-electric running 80% of the time, a range of 500km and 30g/km. More about all of these here.

  • More from the Transport Planning Society (an active participle in that name?) about the letter to the Transport Secretary: the 32 named transport professors expressed concern over whether currently proposed infrastructure investments will deliver the employment and economic growth that they claim, the need for integrated land-use and policy, a “lack of understanding  of how investment in cities and the new range of smart growth policies can deliver economic and environmental benefits”, and “a lack of clarity over big questions such as how we fund transport”. Letter itself here.
  • Interesting piece on Local Motors and its crowd-sourcing design philosophy at Green Car Design. Potentially more influential is the company’s focus on niche products and localised/regionalised solutions, however, with manufacturing from suitably-tweaked kits in ‘microfactories’ – a return to the old days of CKD car-making but with a 21st century twist.
  • BMW and Toyota have signed formally binding agreements, further to an earlier MOU, for joint development of a fuel cell system (including hydrogen tank, fuel cell stack, motor, batteries etc.), joint development of architecture/components for “a sports vehicle” (probably Celica/Z4 replacements, first concepts to come late 2013) and joint R&D of lightweight technologies including reinforced composites. They will also collaborate on next-gen lithium-air batteries, and developing standards/codes for a hydrogen supply infrastructure.
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