Peugeot will launch the new 3008 HYbrid4 crossover in autumn 2011 as the world's first diesel-electric hybrid car - and it's the first in a string of hybrid cars coming from Peugeot and Citroen.
The 3008 HYbrid4 will be followed by a brace of 508 hybrids in spring 2011, and engineers have told CAR that any car on the mid-sized PF2 and full-sized PF3 platforms can use the same innovative electric 4wd architecture.
Although pricey at £26,995, Peugeot expects to sell 10,000 of the 3008 HYbrid4 in its first full year and the parent group PSA Peugeot Citroen is targeting 100,000 annual sales of hybrids as soon as 2015.
Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4: the lowdown
Peugeot has picked its mid-market crossover the 3008 to premiere its first hybrid engine. PSA's hybrid solution is clever because it's a rear-axle application that can be applied to most products in the Peugeot and Citroen stable from 308 upwards.
The HYbrid4 system bolts on to the rear axle, adding a 37bhp electric motor to drive the rear wheels. This enables full zero-emissions electric driving around town, offering a range of up to three miles and speeds of up to 30mph silently.
But most of the time the electric drivetrain assists the driven front axle's 163bhp 2.0-litre HDI. What's clever is that the HYbrid4 system is tuned to work with the front wheels and bolts on to the existing architecture, rather than requiring a bespoke hybrid drivetrain as with the standalone Toyota Prius or Honda CR-Z.
How clean is the Peugeot HYbrid4?
Pretty damn efficient. The 3008 HYbrid4 is a bulky car already, with five full-sized seats in a crossover package - but the diesel-electric version is capable of a claimed 74.4mpg and 99g/km of CO2 when fitted with the smallest wheels.
The battery charges under regenerative braking, but by 2014 Peugeot Citroen will offer a plug-in hybrid model as a separate option. It will be equipped with lithium ion batteries, not nickel metal hydride cells as in the 2011 3008 HYbrid4 model.
What other hybrids are coming from PSA?
Plenty by the sounds of it. The French have launched with diesel-electric hybrids, as that's their area of expertise, but engineers are working on a variety of petrol and diesel applications, and there will be more choice in capacity than just the 163bhp 2.0-litre HDI offered in the 3008 HYbrid4.
We know a 508 HYbrid4 launches in 2012, and it's telling that the French are launching cars at the top of the range before extending down. Pricier cars are more easily able to absorb the €3000-€4000 premium of the HYbrid4 system, but take it as given that cheaper cars with smaller capacity fuel and electric engines are coming too.
Interestingly, the HYbrid4 system is protected by patents; although developed with Bosch, the project leader told CAR it could not be rolled out to other manufacturers as is the case with Bosch systems such as ABS or ESP. 'This is a Peugeot Citroen system and they cannot offer it elsewhere,' said Thierry Fosse.