Hybrid air car could be up and running by 2016
AIR power and hydrogen are two radical paths to future cars outlined this week by rivals General Motors and Toyota.
Both developments could be in cars on Australian roads by 2020.
General Motors has signalled it is keen on a new compressed-air hybrid development announced by French group PSA — the parent of Peugeot and Citroen— while Toyota says it will sell a hydrogen fuelcell car by 2015.
it does not require any special infrastructure
PSA wants its ‘‘hybrid air’’ cars on the market by 2016. Developed with German firm Bosch, it needs no batteries to power the wheels.
Instead the vehicle complements a small petrol en- gine by generating compressed air.
PSA says the system weighs half that of a rival electric motor/petrol engine hybrid.
General Motors has an alliance agreement with PSA and is ‘‘likely to use the technology’’ according to a GMspokesman.
PSA says that in city driving conditions, the vehicles can travel on emission-free, compressed air power as much as 80 per cent of the time without using the three-cylinder petrol engine. Bosch said the tech- nology can be combined with any conventional engine and is suitable for all passenger-car segments and light delivery trucks in urban traffic.
It says in a statement that: ‘‘This hydraulic-mechanical powertrain system results in a hybrid powertrain that is more costeffective, robust, and service-friendly.’’
‘‘In addition, it does not require any special infrastructure, and can be deployed anywhere in the world,’’ Bosch says.
PSA said a prototype ‘‘hy- brid air’’ hatchback emitted 72 grams of CO2 per km, compared with 104g for a Peugeot 208 model with the same petrol engine.
Toyota, meanwhile, signed an agreement with BMW to jointly develop a fuel cell system for vehicles by 2020.
The deal also includes a shared sports car platform, lithium-air batteries and the introduction of new lightweight materials.
Both of the companies are developing a new generation of batteries with higher energy den- sity than the lithium-ion batteries presently being used in hybrid and electric cars.
They say lithium-air batteries will be the new chemistry to be explored.
The hydrogen fuel-cell collaboration will develop the fuel cell stack, hydrogen tank, motor and battery.
They will also jointly study how to prep the infrastructure to better support the rollout of hydrogenfuelled vehicles.
Toyota aims to start selling a fuel cell sedan by around 2015.