The Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4 will be the world's first production car with diesel hybrid technology when it goes on sale next year.
While rivals such as Toyota and Honda have developed their hybrid cars with an electric motor married to a petrol engine, the 3008 Hybrid4 has a 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine combined with a 37bhp electric motor. This set up makes the crossover car capable of 74.4mpg and while emitting just 99g/km of carbon dioxide.
The diesel engine drives the front wheels, while the electric motor powers the rear wheels, ensuring the 3008 Hybrid4 will be the most efficient four-wheel drive vehicle. Power is delivered through Peugeot's six-speed semi-automatic gearbox.
The car will have four driving modes:
• Auto mode: where the entire system is automatically controlled.
• ZEV (Zero Emission Vehicle) mode: when the car runs on electric power only.
• Four-wheel drive mode (4WD): Peugeot says at low speed this allows for 'all-terrain' capabilities equivalent to those of an SUV.
• Sport mode: allows for quicker gear changes at higher engine speeds.
The electric motor is powered by a pack of nickel metal hydride batteries housed under the 3008's boot. Peugeot has opted for these batteries, as opposed to the lithium-ion batteries used by upcoming electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf, because this set up is 'the most appropriate in terms of cost and industrialisation for vehicles produced in large volumes'.
Looks different to standard 3008s
The electric set-up impinges slightly on the car's boot capacity and the Hybrid4 has had some exterior styling changes that help mark it out from the rest of the range the headlights have a LED daytime running lights and the lion badge is on the bonnet.
Peugeot hasn't released prices for the 3008 Hybrid4 but stresses that the car will be a 'fully loaded premium vehicle' the current range-topper costs nearly 23,000 so expect prices well north of there.
However, low running costs should be guaranteed. Owners won't have to pay road tax or London's Congestion Charge. Company car tax will be calculated at 13%, the lowest possible rate for a diesel, however Peugeot says this is being reconsidered because the Government hasn't taxed a diesel hybrid before.
Peugeot is also keen to stress that because of the modular nature of the diesel hybrid set-up, the technology used in the 3008 Hybrid4 will be used in models in the Peugeot-Citroen group. The forthcoming Peugeot 508 family car will be the next car to get the diesel hybrid and the technology will 'cascade by volume' from there.