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Peugeot 308 (2008) scooped

Published: 19 February 2007

Peugeot’s hybrid Golf rival: the lowdown

The French are gunning for the green credentials hogged by the Toyota Prius with the new 308. Our spies caught France’s important new Golf challenger testing in the snows of Scandinavia ahead of its debut next year – and there will be an ultra-clean hybrid version within a year of launch. Today’s Prius is the cleanest car on sale today, pumping out a scant 104g/km of CO2; but the new 308 hybrid will trump that with emissions of just 90g/km, the company’s product boss told CAR Online.

A Peugeot 308 diesel hybrid… how clean will it be?

Pretty damn clean, according to Peugeot product director Bruno de Guibert. He revealed that the production car would pump out 90-100g/km, suggesting an average economy figure of some 70mpg. A particulate trap will burn away virtually all the nasties created during diesel combustion and the car can run on silent, electric-only power around town. The diesel hybrid is being developed with PSA partner firm Citroen and was shown at last year’s Geneva Motor Show in concept form. The production version will use the company’s 110bhp 1.6-litre turbodiesel and paddle-shift gearbox, with regenerative braking to top up the batteries under deceleration. The nickel metal hydride battery pack is claimed to be very compact, sitting in place of the spare wheel. Peugeot expects the hybrid kit to carry a similar premium as the step up from petrol to diesel: so around £1500 above a typical 1.6 diesel. This diesel-electric tech will spread to other models in the Peugeot and Citroen ranges once the technology is proven.

So Peugeot is keen to be green?

You bet. De Guibert claimed that the company would embark on a serious weight-losing exercise, with wider use of aluminium bonnets, plastic wings and magnesium parts in components such as car seats. ‘Cars can’t keep growing,’ he said. ‘We all want the extra interior space, but I think the exterior dimensions will stop increasing. Bringing down the weight of our cars has got to become a priority.’ This is especially true for Peugeot - its new 207 is bigger than the old 306. Peugeot already produces many of the cleanest cars on sale. Its range averages 143g/km (the industry has pledged under 140g/km by next year) and it builds a fifth of the cars on sale today emitting less than 120g/km of CO2. Of course, the hybrid 308 will only make up a small percentage of sales, initially at least. Most buyers will plump for a conventional petrol or diesel model, ranging from 1.4 to 2.0 litres.

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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