By on February 22, 2013

Is Hyundai eyeing PSA’s compressed-air hybrid system? If you believe the scuttlebutt out of France, the answer is yes.

While PSA is heavily touting this new technology as a possible CO2 emissions savior, their technical partner Bosch has been much more cautious. Bosch cautioned that “…Unspecified technical challenges have yet to be overcome before a commercial launch…“, a statement which is at odds with PSA’s ambitious 2016 launch schedule for this technology.

One theory being floated by industry experts (off the record of course) is that this technology is akin to the Volt – a “green vehicle” enticement that PSA can use in the event that it needs to raise bailout funds. At the very least, it is a symbol of what PSA can be capable of.

Hyundai has bucked the trend of fully embracing EVs, with hydrogen being a central focus of its zero-emissions strategy. Even its hybrid lineup is relatively sparse. The compressed-air technology and any notion of technology sharing in itself would be out of character for the Hyundai of Toyota (as opposed to another era, when the cars were Fords and Mitsubishis), but stranger things have happened.

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24 Comments on “Hyundai Apparently Wants PSA’s Hybrid-Air System...”

  • avatar

    An actual fart-powered car. Word to the wise, folks: Be careful what you joke about.

  • avatar

    I thought this tech was targeted at frequent-stop vehicles like garbage trucks and buses. I’ve never seen a Hyundai garbage truck.

    • 0 avatar

      Does your internet not connect to google?

      “Hyundai Press Pack Trucks reduce the volume of residential or industrial waste loaded into the container by compressing them and employ an ejector to discharge the load.

      The Press Pack Trucks are capable of handling oversized waste materials as well as regular waste. An optional bin lifter automates the dumping of waste bins into the hopper.”

  • avatar

    Yeah, when I’m driving, I want my junk resting over a giant tank of compressed air.

  • avatar

    Huh, I remember something like this back six or seven years ago. MDI I think was the company that was working on this as well. (Among a few other companies) As I recall they also hooked up with Tata and were in the development process. PSA researching this may be a drop in the bucket since other companies have been in the game longer, however Hyundai eyeballing the tech may put a spin on things since they have more liquid assets to do R&D than PSA does.

    PSA holding the tech for ransom, for bail out money is a card they would play with how poorly they are doing. I can see that happening completely. Bosch being a part of this is interesting as well. Quite a bit to mull. But if Bosch says it is not ready, it is not ready.

    Of course all of this could just go no where like the Coates International Rotary Valve cylinder engine that works on two spinning shafts. I know they have been around since the eighties, but you hear very little about them. Yet they have hooked up with a Chinese firm and are apparently fielding 880ci Nat gas generators that use the design. But you do not hear about them in the automotive world at all. I figured by now the automotive world would be giving them a look over. Perhaps it was that fraud thing in the early nineties.

    Hard to say where this will all go, but a compressed air hybrid is a interesting concept. Perhaps use engine cylinder deactivation as part of a two stage compressor to refill the tanks. Thing is as I recall the MDI unit used air stored at 4000 psi, and it takes allot of effort to compress air to 4000 psi so I am really not sure the technology is any where near being ready. 2016, I am not so sure. 2020 perhaps.

    I say it is just a trump card for bail out really. Especially if the General gets involved.

    • 0 avatar

      Yet they have hooked up with a Chinese firm and are apparently fielding 880ci Nat gas generators that use the design. But you do not hear about them in the automotive world at all. I figured by now the automotive world would be giving them a look over. Perhaps it was that fraud thing in the early nineties.

      Or perhaps they’re just not superior to normal valve setups in an automotive use other than the F1 area.

      By which I mean I suspect the automotive world has looked at them – and rejected them as not worth it.

      • 0 avatar

        Well I can see how they would reject them because the seals they use with any sort of abrasives (Carbon) would cause massive failure in a short amount of time. Nat Gas/Propane does burn allot cleaner and would allow for the simplistic design. With a liquid fuel (Gas/Diesel) I am sure the failure rate would be rather quick. Stationary single speed applications seem to work for the moment with LPG ect. Love to tear one down after about 15,000 hours and just have a look for myself. (Normal forklift engines run 10,000 to 15,000 hours with no build up unless the rings/pistons/stem seals let go. Unless it is a Yale or Caterpillar with a Mazda F series engine in it then it is about 8000 hours or less. Propane lifts really do not carbon up.)

  • avatar

    “At the very least, it is a symbol of what PSA can be capable of.”

    What “symbol” is an imaginary car of questionable capability, likely with high cost, that a key techology partner cautions may not be ready for prime time?

  • avatar

    I can not see how compressed air would make sense from an energy density perspective. The big heavy tank and associated equipment would counteract any efficiency benefit.

    Whatever happened to the “high RPM flywheel in a vacuum can” technology that was experimented with many years ago? Several city buses in S. America successfully used this technology. Yes, it has flywheel effect issues, but it also has pretty good energy density.

  • avatar

    With full attribution to @bigleagueslider over on the Autosport Technical Forum:

    “The Peugeot hybrid system is not actually a “pneumatic” system. It is a hydraulic system that uses a compressed-gas accumulator.

    The reason Peugeot chose this hydraulic hybrid system is because it can recover far more braking energy than any battery-electric system, it is cheaper, safer and more reliable than a comparable battery-electric system, and it does not require any scarce resources like rare-earths or lithium.”

    It helps to know what Peugeot has come up with, rather than commenting on headlines. Nobody here seens to be worried about pontificating about things of which they have no knowledge.

    To see why Hyundai is interested, read this and learn:

    • 0 avatar


      Reading that thread now. Thanks. Looks like I’ll have another forum to read.

      • 0 avatar

        Derek, Derek, Derek – really? You’re trying to actually educate. Fear, uncertainty, and doubt leads to snark from those who make baseless assumptions and that makes for far better reading.

    • 0 avatar

      “recover far more braking energy than any battery-electric system”

      But not if you insert ultracapacitors to act as a buffer between your motor and batteries*. Also expect such a system to be far less harsh on your batteries, extending their lives.

      So it comes down to developing a crazy pneumatic scheme vs. developing a known product (ultracapacitors) and putting them in a obvious way in a known system (hybrid cars). I know which way to bet, but I won’t claim its a done deal.

      * don’t ever think of using ultracaps as a battery. If you can keep enough room to so that you can accelerate or decelerate hard from most speeds, you have all the room you need (plus the spare room to handle conditions as you slowly charge/discharge the batteries to keep it there).

  • avatar

    air is so much safer than those funny chemicals inside a battery.
    the tank last so long, unlike when u toss out a batt those chemicals will do untold damage to environment.

    they need to circumvent the extended storage, even not can be installed in pick up trucks.

    it may work with recapture energy too. as the pump always turning and a matter of valving the air back to a tank when braking.

    • 0 avatar

      “air is so much safer than those funny chemicals inside a battery.”

      Spoken like someone who’s unfamiliar with what happens when a high-pressure vessel fails.

      • 0 avatar

        +1 Had a zipper on a 195/70 R22.5 Yokohama (Tractor tire) in the shop the other day. Even though it was in the three point cage, it jumped the cage and stand a good few inches.

      • 0 avatar
        George Herbert

        The canonical pressure vessel failure examples that will resonate with this crowd would be scuba tanks having their valve knocked off if the tank tips over in the back of the (van/SUV/car).

        My brother saw that happen on a dive trip. Nobody was in the van at the time, fortunately. The van body more or less unzipped all around, the tank was eventually recovered several hundred yards around.

  • avatar

    …One theory being floated by — tinfoil hat wearing conspiracy theorists — (off the record of course) is that this technology is akin to the Volt – a “green vehicle” enticement that PSA can use in the event that it needs to raise bailout funds…

    Funny, George W. Bush said he bailed out GM because he didn’t want to cause a Depression with 21% unemployment.

    …Former U.S. President George W. Bush told car dealers gathered at a convention in Las Vegas he “didn’t want to gamble” with a depression in defending the loans he gave to General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC.

    “I didn’t want there to be 21 percent unemployment,” Bush said in a speech yesterday to cap the annual National Automobile Dealers Association convention, attended by more than 20,000 people. “I didn’t want to gamble. I didn’t want history to look back and say, ‘Bush could have done something but chose not to do it.’ And so I said, ‘no depression.’”

    The Bush administration provided loans to GM and Chrysler starting with $4 billion to each company in December 2008 and January 2009. Bush eventually provided $17.4 billion in aid to the automakers…”

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    It’s no secret that the government wanted to dump the Volt program during the bailout and GM had to convince them to keep it. But hey don’t let reality get in the way of sensationalism.

  • avatar

    Will Tomy get royalties for pioneering this technology with the Air Jammer Road Rammer?

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