PSA wants GM to share development of compressed-gas hybrids
GENEVA (Reuters) -- PSA/Peugeot-Citroen plans to talk to other carmakers including alliance partner General Motors Co. about sharing development of low-cost compressed-gas hybrids.
PSA wants to pool the cost of developing and manufacturing its so-called Hybrid Air technology, which is expected to come in below 500 million euros ($650 million), innovation director Jean-Marc Finot said.
The first cars using the technology are due to go on sale in 2016. "If we're to meet that timetable, we can't hang around," Finot said at the Geneva auto show. Partnerships will need to be agreed within a few months, he said.
GM would be a natural collaborator on the new drivetrains in Europe, he said, adding that PSA is also seeking a partner for China, where it operates joint ventures with Dongfeng Motor Group and Chongqing Changan.
A GM spokesman said the technology "is currently not part of the alliance discussions" with PSA, declining to comment further.
Citroen's stand at the Geneva show displayed a C3 subcompact powered by the compressed nitrogen and gasoline transmission it developed as a prototype with partsmaker Robert Bosch.
PSA has said the Hybrid Air cars would be priced below 20,000 euros.
Unlike electric hybrids such as the Toyota Prius, which supplement a conventional engine with an electric motor, the PSA transmission requires no costly batteries. Instead it uses a hydraulic motor, driven by nitrogen compressed with energy recovered from braking and deceleration, to assist the gasoline engine. That can cut CO2 emissions by almost a third in city driving conditions, the company says.
European hybrid sales rose about 50 percent last year, according to PSA data, even as the regional auto market shrank to a 17-year low.