Running on Air: Citroën C3 Hybrid Air

While many car companies can make the hyperbolic claim that their car is so fuel efficient it basically runs on air, French automotive giant Peugeot is getting poised to launch a car that literally runs off of compressed CO2. The new and wildly innovative Citroen C3 Hybrid Air is turning a lot of heads with its revolutionary air-powered engine. While it may seem a bit odd to have a car running on air, the automotive industry is well known for its innovation and frequent bending of the rules. It’s true that the compressed air is only meant to complement its gas-powered engine, but the fact that there are excellent alternatives to traditional electric hybrid models is a huge step forward for alternative fuels – even your automotive technician is going to take notice of this one!

Running On Air

The car, while still in developmental and conceptual stages – several prototypes have been made, but it’s not quite street-ready – is causing a stir in the automotive world for its seamless integration of compressed air power.  Scientists for Peugeot Citroen say it will knock almost 45 percent of costs off of fuel bills for the average driver. When the car is used for driving in towns and cities, the savings could be even more exceptional – as much as 80 per cent. Citroen says it’s because the car will be running on compressed air for about four-fifths of the time when driving in more urban settings.

The idea of using compressed air to power vehicles isn’t really a new concept in the realm of automotive careers, it’s been in practice in some form or another since the early 19th century, but it hasn’t really exploded as a trend. The compressed air engines of today even work pretty much the same way that the old ones did, the only difference being more efficiency and modernisation. It works by having fresh air pumped into a chamber under a high pressure, which is then released into combustion chambers where the air forces pistons down, turning the wheels. It’s an exceptionally simple concept, but it works.

Check out this video that breaks it all down:

Widespread Acceptance?

If Peugeot Citroen does manage to successfully integrate this engine concept into a vehicle, chances are it will still be met with a lot of distrust and criticism from the automotive world – every auto technician is going to have an opinion on this game-changer. For Western hemisphere auto enthusiasts who like their cars big and powerful, this might not catch on as rabidly as it would in more efficiency-focused nations like China and Japan. Regardless of how the public reacts, however, the fact that Peugeot Citroen are pushing forward with this idea is a sign of great things to come with environmentally friendly vehicles. Definitely one to keep an eye on!

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