Sunday, June 04, 2006

PSA Peugeot Citroën & Partners Build 62mpg Efficient-C

Back in 2004, partners Ricardo, PSA Peugeot Citroën, and QinetiQ set to work on the British Department of Transport's Ultra-Low Carbon Car Challenge project. The goal was to create a C-Class 5-door passenger car with ultra-low CO2 emissions.

It wasn't left at just that, however. The project organizers also wanted to see improved range and useful performance statistics, all while using a readily-available fuel source (Diesel, Gasoline, or LPG) and maintaining the vehicle's comfort and utility. Finally, the components used had to be mass-produceable and affordable for volume production.

The result is the Efficient-C diesel full-hybrid. The Citroën Berlingo Multispace donor vehicle was equipped with a new electric motor, Lithium-Ion battery pack, and a new automated manual transmission. In addition, mechanically-driven systems (such as power steering) were replaced by electrically-driven versions, allowing for their operation regardless of whether the car had the engine running or was in electric-only mode.

The project was a complete success. Every target goal was met or exceeded. The Efficient-C is a clean-burning small utility that gets 62mpg in combined use. On top of that, its acceleration numbers are better than a diesel-only Berlingo, thanks to the added assistance of the electric motors.

The only thing I could see needing to be moved for production purposes is the battery. On the project car, it is mounted in a vented metal case to the rear underbody (see the picture at the end of the post). Something tells me it wouldn't take kindly to water, snow, dust, etc., but I'm sure it could be moved to an interior location without compromising utility.

Think about it: The practicality of a 5-door wagon/ute with reasonable performance and 62mpg? If it can be done at a reasonable price, sign me up.

More Photos:

New electronics join the 1.6 HDi underhood.

All that tech, and it still seats five.

Cargo space is not reduced whatsoever

The exposed battery is the one thing that would probably have to be relocated for production.

It wouldn't be a hybrid without the techno-geek screen...

Auto tranny always chooses the best ratio

The Efficient-C in detail

Source: Ricardo, PSA Peugeot Citroën, and QinetiQ