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The marriage

Hybrid engine does not necessarily spell electric motor. Officially, the «hybrid» label simply indicates that the transmission system uses at least two different types of energy for propulsion. In practice, with cars, this is almost always an electric machine used as an assist for a traditional combustion engine. But you could also imagine a «marriage» between a combustion engine and a hydraulic system, as is already the case with certain types of construction equipment. Moreover, French group PSA is developing a technology called HybridAir, which it is aiming to transfer to the car. Set a reminder for 2016, which is when the first commercial model is set to be launched.

In your car fleet tomorrow? • Audi A3 • Audi A8 face-lift • BMW i8 • BMW 7 Series • BMW X5 e-Drive • Lexus RC • Lexus SUV compact • Mercedes S500 PHEV • Mitsubishi Outlander • Peugeot 6008 • Porsche 911 Spider

VW Golf

• Range Rover and Range Rover Sport hybrids Practical hybrids Having two different engines can have a practical benefit: it can offer allwheel drive without having to suffer the down sides. This is because there is no need to shove an unwieldy drive shaft between the two axles. One example is the architecture of French group PSA’s Hybrid4: the combustion engine drives the front wheels and the electric motor, installed at the back, takes care of the rear wheels. This is a practical advantage in winter: if the front wheels spin, it’s like being at the wheel of a 4 x 4 vehicle where the rear wheels can help out - but without the need for a cumbersome conventional drive shaft. This is how hybridisation can prove itself to be practical. Rechargeable hybrids Vehicles in this new category are still clearly expensive to buy, but it is the range of plug-in hybrids that really proves convincing in use. Halfway

• Volkswagen Golf

Range Rover

Porsche Panamera S

between a traditional combustiondriven car and an electric car, this PHEV category (Plug-in Hybrid

Electric Vehicle) enables you to drive in 100% electric mode in the week (you recharge the batteries directly from the grid, as with an electric car), while it remains a multi-functional model capable of covering hundreds of kilometres at the weekend (by filling up with conventional fuel again). Another advantage in financial terms is that the theoretical approval level for these half-electric/half-combustion vehicles is very low (under 50g of CO2/km for some models). On the other hand, the big down side of this configuration is that you have to add in the costs of a powerful battery and a full hybrid engine. As a result, the costs of the few models of this type that are currently available are extortionate. ■ Jean-François Christiaens



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Fleet Europe 068  

Dossier Green Fleet Management 2014