Imagine combining the highway mileage and torque that diesel engines get with the benefits of a hybrid in city traffic. This is a dream combination, and PSA is one automaker that is closes to blending these two technologies (see the HyBrid4 at Peugeot, for instance). Recently, The Times had the chance to test the prototype Citroën Hypnos. Their take, it's an interesting blend in a true prototype vehicle.
First, the technical sheet: the Hypnos uses a 2-liter diesel to generate 200hp and gets an additional 50hp from an electric motor powering the rear wheels. The concept gets 62.7 mpg (Imperial, 52 mpg U.S. or 4.5l/100km) and produces CO2 emissions under 120g/km. Those are compact car numbers but the Hypnos is no small ride. The drivers enjoyed the Prius- or RX400h-like noise and pollution free segments of city driving as well as the torquey response from the diesel engine once the ICE was ignited. On the other hand, since diesels are noisier than petrol engines, the contrast between the electric and the ICE modes was more pronounced.
This powertrain will likelyfind its way to the market: it will be first installed in the Peugeot 3008 crossover and the recently launched upscale Citroën DS series in 2011. Smaller versions of this powertrain are also in the works and will surely make it in the brand's workhorses, the Citroën C3 and C4 and the Peugeot 308 and 407.