2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-08-25 09:36
PSA Peugeot Citroen paves the way to the automotive future. However, the new technology will only be used in a few years, when it can be manufactured more cheaply.
By Thomas Flehmer
The automotive group PSA Peugeot Citroen is taking the next stage on the way to the fuel cell. While many manufacturers rely on hybrid, natural gas, LPG or additives, the French are trying their hand at the diesel hybrid. "There are two reasons why we take this step," says PSA board member Robert Peugeot.
Diesel comparable to gasoline hybrid
The greenhouse effect is also allowing the company, which has played a pioneering role in soot particle filter technology, to continue on the environmentally friendly path. The pure hybrid drive with a gasoline engine is no progress for the group, which is proven by comparative tests. For example, a comparison between a hybrid Lexus and a Mercedes diesel that was held in the USA last year brought advantages for the diesel.
"With its advantages and disadvantages, a gasoline engine with hybrid drive is roughly on par with a diesel," says Citroen press spokesman Thomas Albrecht. The fact that Toyota has so far had such great success with the Prius, which was followed by a real hybrid hype, can be attributed to the market in the USA, where the first series-produced hybrid vehicle is enjoying great popularity. In addition, in view of the rising prices, the diesel age has only just begun in the United States and is also making Americans more sensitive to the previously unpopular fuel.
Only heard wind noise
In contrast, the diesel trend in Europe is unbroken. PSA now sells more diesel than petrol. For PSA, this is another reason for the new technology, which will initially be used on a Peugeot 307 and a Citroen C4, each with 1.6 liters and 90 hp. The group has already manufactured two models with a so-called parallel hybrid and a stop and start system and made them available for testing.
In this principle, the combustion engine is used to drive the vehicle. The electric motor uses the energy from the batteries and takes over the drive when the load is low. The car then rolls quietly across the ADAC driving safety area in Linthe, Brandenburg, only the noise of the wind and the rolling of the wheels can be heard. Thanks to a special ZEV button, the diesel can be switched off completely and switched over to only electric operation.
Up to 45 percent less consumption
The power of the two high-voltage batteries, which are housed in the spare wheel box, is sufficient for up to five kilometers, depending on the driving style, then the batteries have to be recharged with the combustion engine switched on. This happens in the deceleration and braking phases. The automatic switchover to diesel is not noticeable in the interior, by the way, no wobbling noticeable when the engine starts.
Otherwise you would not notice any differences to the «normal» combustion engine, but the on-board computer shows the respective driving process. There are also hardly any differences in the performance characteristics of the turbodiesel. The fact that instead of a top speed of 192 km / h only 181 km / h is achieved is easy to get over in view of the reduced consumption of up to 45 percent compared to the 1.6 diesel with 109 hp.
Price still too high
Thanks to the diesel hybrid, the C4 and 307 achieve fantastic fuel consumption and thus also CO2 emissions. PSA and 90 grams of CO2 per kilometer promises just 3.4 liters per 100 kilometers. The average of CO2 emissions in Germany is currently around 170 grams. "A real quantum leap in consumption," says Robert Peugeot, "without sacrificing driving quality."
Despite all the cheers, there is one big catch with the new technology: the price. The new hybrid will therefore only be available on the market in four or five years. "We are committed to promoting the series by 2010," said Peugeot. PSA produces the technology on platform 2, which is suitable for almost all models. "That minimizes the effort involved in series production," says Alain Klein, the project manager for hybrid vehicles at PSA. The costs are still too high. Robert Peugeot does not rule out "cooperation with other manufacturers".
Cooperation with other manufacturers
With Opel, which presented a diesel hybrid study based on the Astra one and a half years ago, and Nissan, which had light trucks equipped with the hybrid in Japan, other manufacturers are already at the start. But even with them, the currently too high price is an obstacle due to the manufacturing process.
“It doesn't help if we come with the car that the customer doesn't want to pay for,” says Albrecht. The new technology would cost around 5000 euros more, "the customer is willing to pay 1500 to 2000 euros more," said Peugeot, who is also hoping for political support. "The purchasing power of Europeans is not growing, it does not work without incentives from politics."
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