One of the stand outs at the Paris Air Show is the Citroën C4 Cactus AIRFLOW 2L Concept. The compressed air hybrid system is one of the more interesting vehicle power plants. One of the more interesting hybrid systems involves the use of compressed air. While this technology has been around for a while, it is slowly making its way into concept vehicles like the Citroen C4. The Cactus has new lightweight components and technologies to achieve 2-liters of gasoline per 100 kilometers which translates to an impressive 118 mpg. According to Citroën this increases fuel consumption by 30 percent.
One of the factors that make this vehicle unique is the fact that it can operate without gasoline at low speeds.
PSA Peugeot Citroën has been at the forefront of research and development of compressed-air hybrids. Their C4 Cactus, amalgamates features of a wagon and a crossover. One of its more interesting visual features are its “Airbumps” on the sides which are meant to diminish the impact of small collisions.
The front drive C4 Cactus has a 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine and a hydraulic pump/motor that operates from compressed air stored in two high-pressure tanks under the rear load deck.
The C4’s HybridAir drivetrain uses waste kinetic energy to compress air, which in turn can help drive the wheels. Compressed air tanks are lighter and less expensive than batteries.
It is expected that a similar system will be integrated into a subcompact production vehicle in 2016.