Hy­brid air car could be up and run­ning by 2016

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE - By NEIL DOWL­ING

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.

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