The first fully functional diesel hybrid in the world comes from the Citroen Hypnos Concept, and its drivetrain will come in a production vehicle by 2011 and not later than that. Powered by a standard 200bhp 2.0-liter turbodiesel, the Hypnos comes with a front wheel drive. Down at the back there is a 50bhp electric motor powered by a nickel hydride battery pack.
The company claims a 62.7mpg fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions rated below 120g/km, rates that are better than the most economical 1.6-liter diesel C4 unit. It comes with an electronically actuated manual transmission, since a standard car would require too much power and there is currently no available DSG transmission inside the PSA group.
The first model planned to receive the diesel hybrid drivetrain is the Citroen DS5. The DS4 can also accommodate the same technology that drives the Hypnos and DS5, and, on the other hand, the company has not set aside the possibility of creating a smaller DS3 which will come with a more regular two-wheel-drive hybrid arrangement.
Citroen has already erected a prototype assembling line at the Soachaux plant of PSA, where a number of Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4 prototypes have been built, which employs the same electric drivetrain that Citroen is currently using.
It is being ascertained by Citroen that its hybrid systems can work with the same level of efficiency regardless whether it is gasoline or diesel and also that they be produced for either without significant cost hike.
Although the carmaker can still bring performance, economy and emissions levels further up the scale between now and release, the truly challenging part is the succeeding generation that will be driven by lithium ion batteries like what the Tesla Roadster is currently using. This will take place with the unveiling of plug-in technology, enabling another significant enhancement in efficiency and emissions reduction, although these advancements have to wait until the middle of the next decade comes around the corner.