Peugeot is claiming that its new diesel-electric hybrid 508 sedan will be the greenest large car in Europe. The French carmaker said that the upcoming Peugeot 508 hybrid will have emissions level of 99 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer and will use only 3.8 liters of fuel per 100km (62 US mpg). When driving in full-electric mode, it will have zero emissions.
For now, the only vehicles that emit less than 100 g/km of carbon dioxide are smaller-sized cars such as the Toyota Prius and Auris gasoline-electric hybrids and diesel versions of the Volkswagen Polo and Smart ForTwo.
Variants of the Peugeot 508 with gasoline and diesel engines will debut in October at the 2010 Paris Motor Show and will start selling at the start of 2011. Peugeot has yet to announce when the diesel hybrid, called the 508 HYbrid 4, is expected to go on sale.
The 508 replaces two Peugeot cars -- the 407 mid-sized car and the 607 large sedan that have not been selling well. United Kingdom-based market researcher JATO Dynamics said that last year, sales of the Peugeot 407 in Europe fell by 45 percent to 36,718 units, while sales of the 607 dropped by 48.5 percent to 1,880 units.
Peugeot is hoping that the new 508 will be able to compete against premium cars such as the Audi A4, BMW 3 series and Mercedes-Benz C class.
In an interview with Automotive News Europe last March at the Geneva auto show, PSA/Peugeot-Citroen brand director Jean-Marc Gales said that Peugeot wants to regain its share of the market that's currently dominated by German manufacturers. Peugeot said that it is relying on an exterior design it calls "French chic," a combination of elegance and timeless lines, to attract premium buyers.
As the key attraction of Peugeot's new flagship saloon, the 508 hybrid is equipped with a 2.0-liter EU5 diesel engine that delivers 160 bhp of output as partnered to a rear-mounted electric motor. This hybrid configuration is expected to give this Peugeot 508 model, which is sized like BMW 5-series, the fuel economy of a Prius.
When the electric motor activates in, the Peugeot 508 hybrid operates in four-wheel drive mode, with the diesel driving the front wheels while the motor the rear wheels. Measuring 4.8 meters in length, the 508 is as long as the '5 by Peugeot' show car shown at Geneva Motor Show this year. In addition, the 508 is significantly larger than the 407 it directly replaces.
The Peugeot 508 will arrive in dealerships in the UK in mid-2011, or about six months after other EU customers.