PSA Peugeot-Citroen is looking for a partner - preferably another carmaker - to assist with the development of its new Hybrid Air compressed air drivetrain technology, according to reports out of Europe this week.
Reuters suggests that existing PSA technology partner General Motors (GM) is in PSA’s sights for the program, which is expected to cost less than €500 million (AU$635 million) to make the technology production-ready.
Intended as a low-cost alternative to conventional petrol-electric hybrids, Hybrid Air combines a conventional petrol engine with a relatively simple (and cheap) compressed air-propelled hydraulic motor.
When the new drivetrain was revealed in concept form at the recent PSA Innovation Day, it was suggested that the first models to use the platform could hit the market as early as 2016.
Speaking later at the Geneva Motor Show, PSA innovation director Jean-Marc Finot expressed the imminent need for a partner to realise this target.
"If we're to meet that timetable, we can't hang around," Finot said.
Finot also suggested that PSA’s Chinese partners Dongfeng Motor Group and Chongqing Changan could also assist with the development of the technology.
Reuters however reports that an unnamed GM spokesman suggested that Hybrid Air development "is currently not part of the alliance discussions".
However, GM is known to be interested in expanding its alternative fuel horizons beyond petrol-electric hybrid and all-electric models, a fact reinforced by GM CEO Dan Akerson at the recent IHS CERAWeek energy conference.
“Everywhere you look there are opportunities to seize the energy high ground, a plan must include energy diversity, so we do not become dependent on any one fuel or energy source,” Akerson said.