Wednesday 21 February 2018

Unique hybrid offers best of both worlds

Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

IT makes a man feel a bit funny when you realise you are looking at a world ‘first’. But that’s exactly what we did on Monday as we sat in, looked at, and asked about, the new Peugeot 3008 diesel hybrid.

The world-first combination of diesel and hybrid technology is expected here late next summer or early autumn and is due to be formally unveiled at this month’s Paris Motor Show.

Between its 2-litre diesel engine (163bhp) and electric motor (37bhp) it manages to produce 200bhp, yet comes in at just 99g/km.

To look at it, there is little hint of anything unusual. The batteries used for the hybrid system are neatly stowed away under the floor. Indeed, everything appears fairly normal considering this car packs a diesel engine, electric motor, new-generation Stop and Start and electronically controlled manual gearboxes. But by putting the electrical stuff at the rear, there is no need to redesign engine compartments.

Peugeot claims the 3008 Hybrid4 Crossover consumes just 3.8 litres every 100km (74.4mpg). It plans a plug-in version later on.

Next year’s arrival will be a ‘premium’ product but there’s no idea yet of spec or pricing. The whole concept of a hybrid is that the components do their bit when called on in unison or separately. So, while the diesel is driving the car, the electric motor acts as a generator.

When the car is slowing down or braking, it turns the energy into electricity to recharge the batteries. The Stop and Start system automatically puts the engine on standby mode when stationary but restarts the car in electric mode when taking off.

Both sources combine when you put the foot down. The 3008 hybrid can operate in different modes: ZEV (zero emission vehicle), four-wheel drive, auto and sport. In auto mode, it is all controlled automatically, while ZEV just uses the electric motor.

In four-wheel-drive mode, the rear wheels are driven by the electric motor and the front by the diesel engine.

Peugeot claims this means at low speeds you get “all-terrain” capabilities equivalent to an SUV.

But if you want a bit more performance, then sport is where you should be as it gives you both engine and electric motor.

Senior Peugeot sources are anticipating huge interest and demand in their world first.

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