Given that transportation is the most widespread source of carbon dioxide emissions, albeit not the greatest source, it is encouraging to see cars breaking miles-per-gallon barriers, such as the Peugeot Hybrid 208 2L, rated at 117 mpg.
The quest for 100 mpg has been long and fraught with disappointment. The problem, for the most part, as with most “economy” cars, is that power and efficiency are typically at opposite ends of the spectrum. We still have not gotten it into our heads that we should be cutting our fuel consumption, not because it is hard on our wallets, but because it is hard on our atmosphere, which, in turn, is hard on our wallets, anyway. Emissions regulations, however, are changing the way we look at fuel economy and vehicle emissions, as well as how automakers are approaching the subject, with great results, I might add.
The Peugeot Hybrid 208 2L, for example, is not an HEV (hybrid electric vehicle), but an HAV (hybrid air vehicle), that is, it is powered by a combination of a gasoline-powered internal combustion engine and an air motor, backed up by compressed-air tanks. Taking the existing Peugeot PureTech 208, powered by a 1.2 ℓ engine, engineers added an air motor and compressed-air tank near the rear axle. To reduce weight, engineers turned to composite materials for body panels and coil springs. Additionally, they reworked other parts of the car, such as the exhaust system, to reduce weight. All told, the 2L weighs 100 kg less than the PureTech 208 currently in production.
As for the “2L” in the name, this refers to fuel consumption. Previous iterations of Peugeot’s HAV drive were quoted at 2.9 ℓ/100km, about 81 mpg. The Peugeot Hybrid 208 2L is rated at just 2 ℓ/100km, or about 117 mpg. This is about the same as the Fiat 500e or Honda Fit EV, but you never have to charge it.
Photo credit: harry_nl