Not long ago we learned about the French Minister of Environmental Affairs getting a hybrid Peugeot 308 HDI (diesel) for a test drive. One of France's most prestigious newspapers, Le Figaro, had the chance to test drive it and compare it to the Prius. The big question is how a diesel engine, known for non-silent starts, could face the almost imperceptible gasoline engine. According to the editor, who tested the 308 for 60 km around Paris, the result was very good and it showed a tremendous improvement from the previous Stop & Start versions from 2006. The powertrain, which mates the 1.6-liter 110hp HDI engine to a 20hp electric motor, fared well against the 2.0 liter 136hp diesel version in terms of performance. However, the big news came in fuel consumption, where the car used 38 percent less fuel. In terms of EU cycles, the 308 hybrid burned 3.4 l/100 km (around 70 mpg U.S.), instead of 5.5 from the regular version. Le Figaro managed to get fuel consumption of 4.6 l/100 km (51 mpg U.S.) without too much effort, thanks to the 308 being able to drive solely on electrons until 45 km/h (30 mph). The big question is when is this going to be available to those of us who aren't French ministers. According to Le Figaro, the electric motor will be powering the rear axle, as in the HYmotion4 3008 Prologue, starting in 2011.

[Source: Le Figaro]

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