| GENEVA, March 7
GENEVA, March 7 PSA Peugeot Citroen
plans to talk to other carmakers including alliance partner
General Motors Co about sharing development of low-cost
compressed gas hybrids.
Peugeot wants to pool the cost of developing and
manufacturing the "Hybrid Air" technology, expected to come in
below 500 million euros ($650 million), innovation director
Jean-Marc Finot said at the Geneva auto show.
The cash-strapped French carmaker's Citroen stand at the
show displayed a C3 subcompact powered by the compressed
nitrogen and petrol transmission it developed as a prototype
with parts maker Robert Bosch.
The first cars using the technology are due to hit the
market in 2016.
"If we're to meet that timetable, we can't hang around,"
Finot said in an interview. 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 Peugeot 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 Peugeot, declining to comment
Peugeot, which is cutting more than 10,000 jobs as it
struggles to stem losses and expand overseas, has said the
Hybrid Air cars would be priced below 20,000 euros.
Unlike electric hybrids such as Toyota Motor Corp's
Prius, which supplement a conventional engine with an electric
motor, the Peugeot 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 petrol 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 Peugeot data, even as the regional auto market
shrank to a 17-year low.