Auto Express is reporting that Citroen has introduced a working prototype of a consumer diesel-electric hybrid vehicle in the form of a converted Berlingo called the Efficient-C. This unique drive train is presumably what French Prime Minister David Mendibourne had in mind when he pledged to support the concept, though, Auto Express states it is the outcome of a collaborative British government-funded project that includes PSA Peugeot Citroen, Ricardo and QinetiQ.

The Berlingo Efficient-C's 92 bhp 1.6-liter turbodiesel and electric motor achieve a combined 75 mpg as well as a 30 percent improvement in CO2 emissions over a comparable diesel-only drive train as it emits just 99 g/km. In comparison, Toyota's Prius spews 104 g/km of CO2.

Auto Express predicts that Europeans should see the drive train hit the market in the next-generation C4 in 2010. As for the infamous dual-impact premium that has driven other automakers away from developing the concept, Citroen estimates that the Efficient-C adds £3,000 to the price of a standard Berlingo, but hopes that by the time it's ready for release the cost of the technology will wither to about 50 percent of that.

[Source: Auto Express]

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