Peugeot has only a few months to cash in on a rare marketing opportunity sparked by innovative engineering.
Officials believe competitors are well under way with development programmes for a string of products to rival the 3008 Hybrid4 – the world’s first full diesel-electric passenger vehicle.
Bristling with high-tech gadgetry blending zingy performance with 4x4 capability, 70-plus mpg economy and zero-emissions travel, the new model is a trendsetting, all-purpose crossover that drives the brand to a unique position in the showrooms – for the time being...
“Opportunities like this don’t come along very often and we’re in the great situation of being able to offer breakthrough technology that ticks all the boxes when it comes to combining dynamic performance with eco motoring in a package that is practical and spacious. But we are well aware that our advantage can’t last much longer than 12 months.
“It’s up to us to make the most of it and believe me, we will. This is a car that should appeal in the corporate sector and to user-chooser drivers in particular and we expect business drivers to account for 70 per cent of the 2,500 registrations we hope it will achieve next year,” Peugeot UK spokesman Steve Fahey told Fleet News.
Peugeot’s car with no compromises carries a £3,000 premium over its non-hybrid equivalent, the 3008 Exclusive HDi 163 Auto. But Fahey claims that over three years and 60,000 miles, lower bills for fuel and benefit tax, the absence of VED and an anticipated three per cent improvement in residual value will not only cover the premium but leave drivers better off by at least as much again.
“Clearly, we have a strong case on the environmental issue but ownership costs also form a vital element for fleets. We think buyers will see the Hybrid4 as a good proposition as well as having status, technology and delivering a refined drive,” he said.
With 200bhp on tap, the car is as convincing on the road as it is on paper as it combines its front HDi engine and rear electric motor to accelerate with vigour, overtake with ease and cruise in near silence at motorway speeds.
Though its 57-litre fuel tank is relatively small, it has a theoretical range of 900 miles and Peugeot claims an efficient recuperation system provides around 150 miles of ‘free’ electric power over 550 miles in average driving conditions.
A centre console knob allows selection of four driving modes – auto, zero emission, four wheel drive or sport – and steering wheel paddle switches allow manual selection of the automated six-speed gearbox.
Gear changes are abrupt in sport mode but silky smooth in the default auto setting, which copes well with most situations, leaving electronics to manage a silent stop start system, zero-emission driving and all-round traction when required. Dashboard monitors are available to track power use and regeneration.
According to Peugeot-Citroen hybrid programme director Vincent Basso, a simplified modular hybrid arrangement will allow PSA to field a wide range of super-eco models and the technology will be available on two additional 508 versions by next summer.
“We plan to build 35,000 hybrid cars next year and if we can double output, we could reduce the cost of this technology by 20 per cent,” he said.
Author: Maurice Glover