French automaker Peugeot is ready to make a big splash during the upcoming 2013 Geneva Motor Show. A display of 31 production vehicles and concepts will draw the eyes of international visitors. Peugeot is focusing on reduced environmental impacts across the board through sleek designs and eco-friendly components. The Onyx concept sports car combines improved vehicle design, a hybrid engine and divided seating to attract attention. The Citroen C3 outfitted with Hybrid Air technology stokes the imaginations of consumers searching for cleaner transportation. Peugeot will also showcase the 208 HYbrid FE, a hybrid concept vehicle designed in conjunction with Total.
The FE stands for Fun and Efficient, a nod toward the skeptic’s view of hybrid vehicles as boring and devoid of aesthetic beauty. Peugeot drew on the 208 compact car sold in European markets to bring some zip to the hybrid vehicle market. A 1.0-liter VTi engine capable of producing 50 kW works in tandem with the Electronic Gearbox Control (EGC) system. This system includes an electric motor and battery tested in endurance races throughout the world. Total worked with subsidiaries Hutchinson and CCP Composites to replace heavier panels with composites that can still pass safety tests. A focus on reducing curb weight meant tweaking wheel wells, replacing tires and even swapping out standard windows for replacements that cut down on drag.
The 208 HYbrid FE seems like a good balance of sustainability, power and effective vehicle design. Peugeot estimates that the HYbrid FE could produce as little as 49 grams per kilometer of carbon dioxide if sent out into the marketplace. This concept hybrid hits 60 miles per hour from a full stop in about eight seconds in the automaker’s early estimates. A lightweight body built using Total’s composite and polycarbonate materials contributes to a 441-pound reduction in curb weight.
Peugeot and Total have been working since 1995 to slowly cut away at waste in production vehicles. The duo has incorporated fuel economy lubricants into more recent Peugeot models. These lubricants circulate through drive systems to remove debris and speed along fuel for greater efficiency. Total estimates that these lubricants contribute to 5% emissions savings in applicable models over previous generations. An avalanche of fuel economy lubricants, composite panels and polycarbonate materials contributes to lessened impacts on the environment.
Peugeot’s showing at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show brings into stark relief the inability of the auto industry to move in a greener direction. The most popular automakers in the world have faltered to create the intermediary steps necessary for the transition from gas guzzlers to alt-fuel vehicles. Consumers continue to struggle with their finances and governments are unwilling to develop infrastructure sufficient enough for mass adoption of green vehicles. As green vehicle enthusiasts, we no doubt are concerned with deliberate steps toward more sustainable transportation as they can easily be reversed. It is important that we encourage the incremental approach of a firm like Peugeot because green vehicle adoption will not happen overnight. The global auto industry must offer vehicles at different price points, sizes and emissions levels to pull greener models out of their niche.