Bad news coming from France as PSA is having difficulties with the Hybrid Air system development.

Bad news coming from France as PSA is having difficulties with the Hybrid Air system development.

When PSA Peugeot Citroën unveiled their revolutionary Hybrid Air setup back in early 2013 they said it would be ready for a 2016 launch in a B-segment production car but that won't happen. It seems development costs are on the rise and putting the technology into a car costs an estimated €500 million so PSA is looking for another automaker willing to share costs.

Equally worrying is the fact that project's leader Karim Mokaddem left PSA last September while the initial team of 180 engineers has been reduced so it's safe to say we won't be seeing a Hybrid Air-powered production car very soon. Taking into account it costs so much to develop, chances are the cars will be on the expensive side to recuperate the investment so most likely people won't be rushing into dealerships to buy a C3 Hybrid Air or something like that since there are more affordable hybrid alternatives on sale.

Nevertheless, the technology is indeed promising as PSA estimates a Hybrid Air system can reduce fuel consumption of a city car by more than 40 percent. They say a C3 or 208 would average 2.9 liters / 100 km (81.1 mpg US or 97.4 mpg UK) with CO2 emissions of 69 g/km and in city driving would run on air for 60-80 percent of the time with zero emissions.

As a reminder, a Hybrid Air system encompasses a conventional gasoline combustion engine working together with compressed air, a hydraulic motor pump and an automatic gearbox featuring an epicyclic gear train. It compresses air while coasting and braking and then uses it for accelerations and PSA mentions the car can be driven in three modes: gasoline, gasoline & air combined or just on air.

It's going to be tricky to implement the setup on a production car since PSA research and development boss Gilles Le Borgne has previously declared that for the technology to make economic sense they would have to sell approximately 500,000 units per year since the system has many parts that current regular cars don't have, like the special transmission, hydraulic motors and 300-bar gas tanks. 

Gallery: PSA faces rising development costs for Hybrid Air technology, 2016 launch seems unlikely