Peugeot 208 HYbrid 2L runs on air, debuts at Paris show

September 13, 2014

Peugeot will showcase one of its most advanced production cars yet at the upcoming Paris Motor Show, called the 208 Hybrid Air 2L Demonstrator. It runs on compressed air and is extremely light in weight.

Peugeot 208 HYbrid 2L Demonstrator

Okay, so it doesn’t just run on air. It uses a sophisticated hybrid system which also uses a 1.2-litre petrol three-cylinder engine. However, there is an ‘Air ZEV’ driving mode which allows the car to run on air alone for short periods.

The way system works is by compressing air into a special tank during deceleration and when rolling down hills. Some compression is also developed by the 1.2 petrol engine. Either way, the tank can be filled in just 10 seconds. Peugeot explains,

“The compressed air is used to assist and even replace the petrol engine to enable maximum efficiency during transition phases, such as acceleration and starts.

“In Air (ZEV) mode, the car runs on compressed air alone. This method of driving does not consume fuel and gives off no CO2 emissions, making it ideal for urban environments.”

Both energy sources are managed by a hydraulic epicyclic transmission which can decide which power source is required. It replaces the manual transmission unit and comprises of a complex motor and pump mechanism in the engine bay.

Peugeot hasn’t revealed the full details and specifications yet, but just by taking in these preliminary details it seems like a very interesting alternative energy system. The French company says the ‘2L’ in the name stands for 2L/100km.

To further optimise efficiency, the 208 HYbrid Air features various carbon fibre components, including the doors and roof, guards, and even the coil springs. Underneath, the exhaust is made from a thinner steel, only it’s a stainless steel and it provides a 20 per cent reduction in weight.

Overall the HYbrid Air weighs just 860kg. This is around 100kg lighter than the 208 PureTech on which it is based. Most of the panels and grilles have been aerodynamically optimised as well to further improve efficiency.

More details will be revealed at the Paris show which starts on October 2. Who knows, maybe we’ll all be driving around on air soon?

Peugeot 208 HYbrid 2L Demonstrator-rear

Brett is the editor and founder of PerformanceDrive. He's obsessed with driving, having played with Matchbox cars until he was tall enough to drive a real one. After initially working as a mechanic, Brett earned a degree in journalism and entered media as an editorial assistant at Top Gear Australia magazine. He then worked at His dream is to live next door to the Nurburgring in Germany.

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