The Hybrid Air was developed, says Peugeot, as “a new type of full hybrid powertrain that uses petrol and compressed air,” designed to increase fuel efficiency and reduce gasoline consumption. And it could be coming to a dealership near you in 2016.
Jean-Baptiste Thomas, a spokesman for the French car company, told the Huffington Post that the Hybrid Air has already been produced in four prototype models that have been driven more than 12,000 miles. Thomas also stated that the company is “quite confident” the Hybrid Air system will reach the market in the next three or four years.
The Hybrid Air system can be adapted to almost any of Peugeot's current cars, the automaker told the Huffington Post.
How does the Hybrid Air manage to make a car run on air? For starters, it uses a gasoline engine like any other hybrid car on the market, but it also features a system of hydraulic pumps to force compressed air into moving the wheels as well (explained in more detail in the video below).
While the Hybrid Air runs on a combination of compressed air and gasoline in highway conditions, for city driving, the car switches automatically to its air-powered mode, allowing users to drive up to 50 minutes without using any gas at all.
MSN Cars notes that by 2020, Peugeot hopes that the Hybrid Air system will achieve up to 116 miles per gallon. Let’s hope it’s not a load of hot air.
Watch a quick video explaining how the Peugeot Hybrid Air runs on air below.