A world first-3008 Hybrid4 Peugeot

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I believe¬†a pressure¬†imbalance is what causes my motion sickness;¬†when a classmate paid for us to go on the Big Wheel at the funfair, I spent the¬†rest of week off school…sick. My ‘holiday’ sailing around the¬†north European¬†coast; the captain¬†offered me a hunk of hard bread to chew on as I lay incapacitated on the boat’s deck – my dereliction of duty. Sicky sensations reoccurred¬†when I first drove the Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4. If you have driven a pick-up that has leafsprings¬†as rear suspension, you will know what I mean – especially on speed bumps.¬†Most of the¬†3008’s additional mass comes from a Nickel Metal-Hydride battery¬†sited over the rear axle¬†which is where my initial discomfort emanated from. On a more positive point, corners can be taken at a higher speed than normal because of¬†a multi-arm rear suspension within which are housed the electric motor and¬†reduction gearbox, giving a feeling of confidence and reassurance.

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That this has a hybrid powertrain generating a potential 200bhp from a 163bhp 2.0 HDi engine over the front axle¬†with a peak output of 37bhp¬†over the rear wheels from a 27kW¬†electric motor may not seem original yet the engine is diesel and both drivetrains¬†create four-wheel-drive capability, which is. Range anxiety has been eliminated as both units operate alternatively or simultaneously which makes the dashboard display¬†into a science lesson¬†to¬†discover how far you can travel on electric power or “zero emission” which, say Peugeot has a 1.2 mile ‘range’ from the 200V battery (guaranteed for five years or sixty thousand miles). That battery never loses below 20% of its charge as the diesel engine assists in boosting it¬†so an unlikely coupling forged between diesel and electric power; a world’s first according to Peugeot. Everything is controlled electronically ‘by wire’ as there are no mechanical links between the front and rear drivetrains so following a¬†trunk of orange plastic covered cabling from the engine bay¬†then behind sills towards the rear axle may look like a piecemeal¬†addition hindering four wheel off-roading¬†in case you snag wiring.¬†On tarmac,¬†the 3008 storms away from traffic lights to highlight a maximum torque of 500Nm available; 300Nm¬†from the front engine and 200Nm generated by the electric motor at the rear.

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[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdqjuYMqtvI[/youtube]

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Costing ten thousand pounds more than¬†a standard 3008 112 bhp diesel with no significant gain in ‘realworld’ fuel efficiency is a lot more to pay for a ‘hybrid’ label and zero road tax. An oxymoron, especially when the chosen¬†163 bhp HDi engine has been inserted¬†when¬†Peugeot has¬†a¬†smaller unit. Air conditioning and electric door mirrors also seem paradoxical in view of environmental credibility with¬†their additional mass of componentry. Perhaps Peugeot will offer a more basic stripped out version like Kia have done with the new Rio 1.1 CRDi that does¬†without air conditioning and alloy wheels? We averaged a combined fifty mpg on mostly motorways with some urban use so¬†a faux pas on the part of Peugeot but I think with simplicity, it could be gain a market. A fact worthy of mention is¬†the 106 Electric that remains the world’s best selling zero emissions car (nearly 10,000 vehicles were produced in total). ¬†As for¬†my pressure imbalance, it dissipated in the 3008 but not enough for me to view it as an economically¬†viable purchase – at the moment.

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Words and photos are copyright of Sotiris Vassiliou

November 2012

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