Getting a car to move at respectable speeds with compressed air is hard. Very hard. Automakers have been grinding away at a car powered by compressed air for years. It’s so difficult that French automaker PSA Peugeot Citroen is putting the green concept aside in favor of a hybrid, for now.
“Hybrid Air” is a concept hybrid car that uses a “compressed air tank mounted in the central transmission tunnel to turn a hydraulic motor” instead of an electric battery, according to Green Car Reports.
As with electric hybrid cars, compressed air cars can't go very fast. The Hybrid Air has a max speed of only 43 miles per hour and has a fuel economy of 117 miles per gallon. On highways, it’s gasoline all the way. However, if a car needs more acceleration on a hill, the compressed air tank can kick in to give it a boost.
A car with a compressed air tank is also much lighter. According to MotorAuthority, the Hybrid Air tank would only add about 220 pounds to the car, compared to the 400-pound batteries found in hybrid cars such as the Chevy Volt.
PSA Peugeot Citroen’s targeting the “Hybrid Air” concept for prototype cars in 2016, and has posted a video covering the concept. Hey, that’s only three years away!