Peugeot rolls out world first with its new hybrid
PEUGEOT rolled out its new 3008 Hybrid4 last week in France, the world's first full diesel-electric hybrid, unveiled in France last week.
Due here in December, the latest, 'green' version of the crossover 3008 uses a combination of diesel and electric power.
Peugeot believes that this marks a real breakthrough in technology and driving performance.
And on the evidence of a 200km spin through sun-drenched Brittany last week, it is true . . . to a point.
The level of innovation is impressive, with hybrid technology delivering low consumption and CO2 emissions.
Indeed, so chuffed is the French car maker with the hybrid that they want a switch in government motoring incentives here, from an exclusive focus on electric to diesel electric technology.
The hybrid retains all the characteristics of the 2-litre HDi.
These include the same maintenance costs and intervals, stylish lines, high-driving position, ample space, finish and comfort.
There are four driving modes -- Auto, Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV), Sport and 4WD.
All of these can be changed on the move, with a 2-litre HDi FAP 163bhp diesel engine driving the front wheels, matched to a 37bhp electric motor on the rear axle.
Output between the two motors, tracked by an on-board display in an attractive cluster, is balanced by a computerised management unit.
The electric motor takes over in phases of lower power demands -- when starting up or driving at low speeds and decelerating.
On average and depending on driving style, the diesel engine is stopped for two-thirds of the time during city driving and one-third of the time on main roads.
Combining both power plants offers four-wheel drive capabilities -- workmanlike, rather than spectacular, on first acquaintance over a short sand pit -- with a maximum output of 200bhp and an average fuel consumption of 74.3 mpg (3.8 litres/100km) with 99g/km CO2.
Peugeot points out that the consumption figures represent a decrease of 35pc compared with an internal combustion engine with a similar power output.
There's an electronically controlled six-speed Ecomatique gearbox with stop/start which varies torque.
It is also designed to smooth gear changes (still a little lazy and needing refinement) and reduce fuel consumption.
The electric range offers up to 4km from a standing start or up to 280km with a full tank of diesel on a 900km journey in Auto mode.
The Hybrid4 will be produced in Sochaux, France and the production target for 2012 is 15,000 or 10pc of total 3008 production. It will be followed by the 508 RXH and 508 saloon diesel electric hybrid next year.
Peugeot hopes to sell up to 100 here next year. Expect the Hybrid4 to be priced north of €30,000. Specifications will be announced later this month.
Like the conventional 3008, on the road the hybrid is a solid and polished performer, providing the added comfort of knowing that it's not burning excessive fuel -- or a hole in your pocket.
For extra oomph, though, pop it into Sport mode -- and enjoy the ride.