back to article Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4

Reg Hardware Car Week Car company PRs are always a chirpy bunch, but with a practised eye you can tell when they think they are really on to something. That's currently the case with the folk from Peugeot, who are like a dog with two tails to wag when talking about the new 3008 HYbrid4, the world’s first diesel electric …


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  1. Bodhi

    A diesel hybrid Peugeot? I cannot think of anything I would want to drive less. Walking actually seems preferable.....

    1. Peter Storm

      Well at least it would be very economical,

      It's so hideous that you want to get near enough to it to actually drive it.

      1. Mike Richards Silver badge

        Re: Well at least it would be very economical,

        Oh come on, it's far less ugly than that horrible kick-it-Kuga also on this site.

        And both are positively delightful compared to the horror that is the BMW X6 - think coupe shape on a 4x4 chassis - go on Google it, I'll be here waiting…

  2. JDX Gold badge

    Struggling to see the point?

    Isn't putting power to the wheels from engine -> battery -> motor -> wheels less efficient as it involves more steps? I can see it gives you a KERS style boost but what exactly is the point of that in a big family car?

    Real question - genuinely don't understand what this is supposed to achieve. A fully electric car which has a small engine to charge the battery in 'emergency mode' so it doesn't go flat, that seems more useful (if we have to have electric cars in the first place).

    1. Magnus_Pym

      Re: Struggling to see the point?

      I think the point is that it supposedly gets around 30 more miles per gallon that standard. Only time will tell if this is correct.

    2. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: Struggling to see the point?

      Because an engine can be set to its most efficient RPM. Perhaps 2000 rpm is peak torque for this engine and runs most efficiently. Keeping the battery around 80% charged at the most efficient fuel setting would mean the least amount of energy wasted. I.e. no "idle" technically as your battery would deplete whilst driving and charge whilst idle/below the charge/usage curve.

      Obviously you would need to factor in efficiency but in theory it is a sound system:

      1) idle charges battery.

      2) set off uses most "fuel" and ratios as its not very mechanically efficient so use the battery.

      3) cruise uses engine and charges battery at a more efficient engine setting.

      4) regen braking (balance to the rear though?)

      5) back to 1

      I like this idea. You have the CHOICE to use as a normal FWD diesel if situation permits. If you are pootling around town then use the battery. It would be interesting to see a weeks worth of normal driving miles vs fuel put in vs a "normal" without using the electric mode.

      1. Clive 3

        Re: Struggling to see the point?

        A bit of a problem with point 1). It has start/stop so there isn't an idle time.

        I have an Audi A1 automatic with start/stop and find it can be dangerous. On two occasions I have been waiting at a busy junction and haven't noticed that the engine has stopped. When there was a gap in the traffic I ended up lurching into the on-coming traffic as the engine started.

    3. Piro

      Re: Struggling to see the point?

      There are gains to bad with regen braking - this is one definite and obvious place to gain back some fuel economy, instead of simply wasting it all to friction brakes. Although I admit just tossing out all that weight would save you money and probably help just as much too..

      1. Piro

        Re: Struggling to see the point?

        Bad? *be had..

        Silly me..

    4. Annihilator

      Re: Struggling to see the point?

      I think the downvotes for a sensible question seems harsh, but yes it's a counterintuitively more efficient means of harnessing an internal combustion engine's power. I believe an ICE is limited to about 40% efficiency as a theoretical maximum. In a standard car, it's real world efficiency is around 20%, less in many occasions.

      As Danny points out above, you can keep the engine set to its most efficient speed regardless of where the drivetrain is. Think of it as an infinite ratio gearbox. In this case, with a diesel, it would be a particular improvement given a diesel delivers all its power at the top end of each gear.

      A similar setup (forget which, but was a series hybrid) was reviewed on Top Gear a couple of weeks ago. James May tried to explain it to that blithering idiot Clarkson who as expected cut him off stating it was boring nonsense..

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Struggling to see the point?

        Re. setting an engine speed independent of road speed. That would be a drive-chain similar to the one in the Prius (infinitely variable planetary system or the Synergy as they call it). I don't think this one has continuously variable transmission, just the usual stepped kind. When using the engine to turn the alternator, yes, disengage the clutch and run it at its most efficient speed and under Atkinson cycle timings, but when it is driving the wheels using set gear ratios, you can't do that.

      2. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Struggling to see the point?

        >>I think the downvotes for a sensible question seems harsh

        I can only assume it's the green crowd auto-downvoting any post which raises any questions about their agenda.

        Or the forums are just unusually full of tools today :)

      3. Alex Rose

        Re: Struggling to see the point?

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Struggling to see the point?

      Yes, it's a lossy process but hybrids benefit in a few ways:

      - You have the opportunity to regen, capture and re-use some of the otherwise discarded energy. (The shift to lithium will improve regen)

      - You can stop the engine under idle rpm. Normal cars can use DFCO when you don't need the engine and revs are high enough to prevent stalling, but with a hybrid you can cut the engine and use electric for small loads, as that can still be more efficient despite the lossy process. Which, in part leads us to ...

      - You can keep the engine running in an efficient rpm band, either using spare power to charge the battery or using assist to supplement it. Using assist a lot is bad, but in average conditions you benefit overall.

      - In a full parallel hybrid setup you can modify the engine cycle for efficiency over torque and use the assist to provide the additional torque when you need it. That's of more benefit with petrol hybrids. Again, you don't want to be working the assist a lot, but in many driving conditions you really don't need that much torque.

      - You can shift more auxiliary systems to electric: as well as having fully-electric A/C the Gen 3 Prius eliminated all belts.

      Fully electrically driven cars will be great, although the relative efficiency depends significantly on the efficiency of the grid (but personally I love the idea of finally not really caring what happens in the Middle East), but the problem with electric drive is that you need a large battery and motor to deliver enough power to drive the car at all normal speeds. Batteries don't just have capacity limits, they have charge and discharge limits, which depends on the chemistry.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

        Re: Re: Struggling to see the point?

        The only benefit I can see is it allows Peugeot to claim they make a 4WD without having to go to the expense of having a proper 4WD drivetrain and all its associated weight. Not having to have a propshaft going from the engine bay to the rear wheels also means they don't have an intrusive transmission tunnel in the cabin, meaning they can save a lot of money by using the same floorpan and interior for both FWD and 4WD versions. I expect we will soon see more PSA "offroaders" appearing soon with this hybrid setup, pretending they can compete with proper 4x4s over the fields.

        1. Christopher Rogers

          Re: Struggling to see the point?

          They offer a 4 wheel drive mode, but I have yet to see where they market this as a traditional 4x4. The marketing for the non-hybrid version included a 1.6 diesel being used to launch a glider. The vehicle raced across a field, demonstrating the sure footedness of the new traction control system. They do make a 4x4 with Citroen and Mitsubishi. Its called the 4007. This system is just like every other hybrid system with the added bonus that there is improved road handling from creating a part time rear wheel drive system to assist (and at low electric only speeds replace) the front wheel drive diesel system. This car currently makes sense. Shame about cost.

    6. Mike Richards Silver badge

      Re: Struggling to see the point?

      As other more knowledgeable folks have pointed out, this gives you a more efficient use of the diesel. Something similar has been used for locomotives since the 1930s.

      Which makes me wonder - any chance of a diesel hydraulic car?

      1. Robert E A Harvey

        @Mike Richards ('western' fan?)

        I have driven a petrol hydraulic car It was french (wocab) - either a renault or citroen - made in the 1950s. It had a constant speed engine, a variable stroke hydraulic pump, and variable stroke hydraulic motors in each wheel, Pump and motors had swash plate variable stroke mechanisms, operated by cables from the 'throttle'. and it could (with the crude swash plate limiter unscrewed) go as fast backwards as forwards.

        The one I drove also had a 25 litre drum of replacement hydraulic oil and a suitcase full of replacement rubber seals in the boot. It never went a week without popping something and dumping all the oil on the road in milliseconds (that's what pumps do!).

    7. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Struggling to see the point?

      A battery powered car that can do 80mph on a motorway all day even with a small engine to charge it - is a way off. The battery on this would only provide 1.5HP for an hour.

      This is an economical family diesel where you don't need to run the engine in traffic and at low speed around town.

      KERS only makes sense if you aren't mostly slowed by wind resistance, as in a car. It does work if you need massive fast braking (as in F1) or you weigh a lot and need massive slow breaking (as in a Truck/bus) and you brake/accelerate a lot.

  3. TeeCee Gold badge

    Complicated electrics and French?

    A brief trawl of the automotive technical forums will tell you what a great idea that is. Current rate of "Help, electrical problem with ${french_car}" entries is about one post in every four.

    Also it's a modern diesel, so there's an electic selection of recipes for expensive disasters built in, regardless of who makes it. Diesel Particulate filter failure, Dual Mass Flywheel failure, variable-vane turbo failure, etc ad nauseum......

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Complicated electrics and French?

      God yes. The building where I work was a PPI job with a French company. There's been a power cut almost every other weekend for the last two years fixing problems, and in the last 6 years, we've lost 20 working weekdays to dodgy power supply components, all of which were French and needed couriering from overseas.

  4. Mankpiece

    Peugeot and Electrics...

    Good luck with that.

    You know after the 3 year warranty is up it'll go wrong, big style.

    1. Captain TickTock
      Thumb Down

      Re: Peugeot and Electrics...

      Unless you take the extended warranty, but that won't cover dual mass flywheel clutch (grr) or rear window demister.

      I'll wait 3 years to see how this gets on on the road before even thinking of buying into it.

  5. Leona A

    What took them so long.

    Surely this is most obvious combination, I'm surprised its taken till 2012 for a manufacture to actually come up with this solution, I mean even Top Gear had a (VERY CRUDE) concept over 2 years ago!

    I wonder how many years it will take before we see a 2 pot diesel hybrid in small cars.

    Geez I mean, why shout about something that should have been produced years ago, the pace of innovation in the motor industry is Tortoise like, come on!

    1. Bodhi

      Re: What took them so long.

      Feel free to take up a job in Vehicle Development if you feel the pace is a bit slow. There's a little bit more to it than "I've had an idea! Lets launch it"".

      Actually thinking about it, considering your idea for a hybrid 2 cylinder diesel supermini, I'd rather you didn't...

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

        Re: Re: What took them so long.

        Actually, this looks a lot less impressive a design than the Lexus Hybrid Drive tech that Toyota have been using since 2007. Seeing as Toyota also licence that tech to Peugeot's partner company Nissan, you have to assume this is the bargain-basement offering. It's also looking a poor comparison with the VW Cross Coupe concept - which name would you rather have bolting your electrics together, Peugeot or VW? Richard Hammond ( does point out the electric engine is a Bosch part, so hopefully better than the usual Fwench reliability, but his roadtest is not exactly a ringing endorsement as the hybrid turned in WORSE fuel economy than the normal diesel 3008! By the looks of it, Leona A could join a Vehicle Development department and probably turn out at least a good solution as this!

        1. Captain TickTock

          Re: What took them so long.

          Nissan is partnered with Renault

        2. Captain TickTock

          WORSE fuel economy than the normal diesel 3008

          Apparently. driving a hybrid economically is not quite the same as driving a plain diesel economically.

          I've read that drivers are not 'getting' it without a bit of education, which is down to the design of the car.

        3. John 62

          Re: What took them so long.

          I think you're mixing up Peugeot and Renault

      2. Leona A

        Re: What took them so long.

        I realise there is more too it than just 'having an idea' but the technology and 'know how' is already out there, in isn't like I'm trying to invent something new.

        Get a 2 cylinder diesel engine, combine with a hybrid battery system, use the batteries to get the car moving and the engine to keep everything charged and motion at higher speeds, so this would give a huge MPG return, yes this is all in theory, but if I (just a girl) can think of it, why isn't someone testing it out? Surely its a no brainer. :)

        1. organoman

          Re: What took them so long.

          I believe the 2012 Fisker Karma does this, but with a petrol engine. James May did a piece about it on Top Gear a few weeks ago (

  6. Neil Barnes Silver badge


    And while I'm grumbling... will the idiots who name these things please learn the accepted rules of capitalisation, spacing, and punctuation.

    Thank you.

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  8. Khaptain Silver badge

    Metric would be welcomed.

    Dear El Reg,

    Not everone speaks "Imperial", how about providing the rather more "metric" values of Litres per 100Km. ( There are other people in the world who live outside of the GB and the US )......

    I understand that Kamel Hooves per Valley (KH/V) or Mule Paces per Field (MP/F) might also be interesting values but they are a lot less common when speaking about vehicule consumption....


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Metric would be welcomed.

      Why? UK site, UK measurements. If you want things in metric go read a local review instead.

      1. James 51 Silver badge

        Re: Metric would be welcomed.

        The UK officially went metric what, thirty or forty years ago? I was taught in metric, think in metric and work in metric. Having to convert into that antiquated system is an inconvenience I could live without. It also would get rid of listing cars miles per gallon but charging per litre.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: Metric would be welcomed.

          The UK may be metric for some things, but if you ever went on a UK road you'll notice roadsigns are in mph only.

          mpl rather than mpg would be more useful.

    2. dotdavid
      Thumb Up

      Re: Metric would be welcomed.

      Agreed, enough of the stupid imperial units - so, how many double-decker-buses-worth of fuel does the tank hold?

    3. Irony Deficient

      Maths to the rescue!

      Khaptain, one doesn’t need to speak Imperial to receive a translation to SI. Just grab a slide rule and follow this simple formula:

      282.48 ÷ miles_per_Imperial_gallon = litres_per_100_km

      Please note that we in the States don’t use Imperial measurements either — we continue to use Queen Anne’s wine gallon and King William III’s bushel, in preference to their respective Imperial substitutes.

    4. John 62

      Re: Metric would be welcomed.

      I would prefer km per litre.

  9. TimBiller

    Citroen DS5 has the same drivetrain

    And that launch is imminent. It's my next choice for a company car depending on lease costs and handling (in that order).



  10. NikT

    Bring it on...

    Can't comment on the reliability of French auto electrics becasue to do so would be to tempt fate with respect to my 187,000 mile, 11-year-old Peugeot , which to date has been trouble free in that respect.

    However, I drove the 3008 Hybrid4 last summer, and I too was impressed. We were at low speed on a short track, but the switch from electric only to diesel was very smooth indeed. The rep told me that the electric drive will kick in whenever you put your foot down, just for a couple of seconds to mask the turbo-lag.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Bring it on...

      Well, let's put it this way, you'd expect some individual car models to be lemons, but for the French, it's a whole make.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Bring it on...


    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Bring it on...

      I have a 23 year old Petrol Clio RT which I keep abroad as a spare vehicle. It has had no electrical faults within the 11 years which we have owned it - I cannot testify about before that. Touch wood and do not tempt fate of course :)

      It is still running 212k (km) on the clock and probably has around 100 (and 10 years) more before it falls apart. The secret for both Renault and Peugeout is to change the radiator at 150k miles/15 years - otherwise they roast :)

      In any case - electrical faults + French cars is a recent malaise from the last 10 or so years after they went electronic mad around 2003-2005.

  11. Boothy

    Nice idea (shame about the car!)

    Until we have the infrastructure then hybrids are the way to go. Not all of us have places to plug in to charge. And to have a proper diesel electric (i.e. all electric drive and a diesel generator), needs a larger electric engine, and therefore a larger more expensive and heavy batter pack to go with it.

    So this solution seems to fit what we currently need in hybrids. A few more years of battery development, and we'll start seeing proper diesel electrics.

    I really like the four wheel drive system. Normally the only time you need four wheel drive is low speeds, stuck in mud, or snow conditions. So this low power to the back wheels seems ideal.

    Just needs to be put into a decent car, say a smaller hatch, a two seater sports or a coupé.

    1. annodomini2

      Re: Nice idea (shame about the car!)

      With a series hybrid yes you need a larger electric motor, but you can get away with a smaller higher efficiency engine/generator.

      Most cars when cruising (i.e. motorway) don't use that much power IRO 10-15bhp depending on the car.

      The size of the battery pack only determines how long it can run on electric only.

      4WD is pointless the majority of the time for most road users, other than the exceptions you raised, which in the UK aren't that common unless you live on a farm.

  12. madmalc

    Poor real world economy

    Autocar in their exhaustive road test got worse economy than the standard diesel

  13. jungle_jim

    the batmobile beats this

    i think the batmobile is ahead of this

    "Atomic batteries to power. Turbines to speed"

    why dont we use a turbine to power this?

    it would sound cool at least!

    1. Ogi

      Re: the batmobile beats this

      To my knowledge turbines give poorer fuel economy than IC Engines (at least for the size you can fit in a car comfortably).

      Where turbines shine is in power to weight ratio, which is important for aircraft, and they improve in efficiency the larger they are (hence why they try to stick a few big engines on aircraft, rather than many little ones).

      AFAIK that is the primary reason they have not been used in cars so far. Not to mention noise limits in urban areas, really hot exhaust, and probably a few other niggles I've not thought of at the moment.

      1. jungle_jim

        Re: the batmobile beats this

        that's a shame. im sure i read chrysler managed it in the 50's though im sure fuel economy was a litle less of an issue back then :P

        i guess i can dream about my turbine electric car.... say.... what about boundary layer turbines.... aren't they meant to be more efficient (clutching at straws here)

        1. Ogi

          Re: the batmobile beats this

          Yes, Chrysler did do it in the 50's, but only after the Brits (surprise surprise ;) ). Rover did it in the 50's too:

          Not only that, in the 60's they went and built a Le Mans race car out of it:

          Fuel economy was an issue back then as well, but there were other issues too that made it a poor choice for road cars. The issues they had was spool spin up time, complexity of the transmission (had to use hydraulics and a variable transmission system due to the high rpm and the turbines tenancy to not want to slow down and spin up much) and hot exhaust.

          Boundary layer turbines (aka, Tesla Turbines, after the guy to invented them) are more efficient than standard turbines, but I don't think they are better than IC engines at the size to fit in a car.

          Also, they work best with steam or another working fluid. Running them with hot air has been experimented on by the tesla turbine building club, and so far they have either proven too heavy/complex, too poor efficiency, or have blown themselves to bits (at least from what I've read).

          Not to say people are not trying, and they may well make it one day, just not yet :)

          Still, if it is your dream, there are people who have stuck them in cars. It is doable, just don't expect your fuel bill to go down :)

      2. annodomini2

        Re: the batmobile beats this

        Turbines, just like conventional piston engines have peak efficiency points.

        They also don't like being outside these points or sped up or slowed down quickly.

        As you state they can be noisy and heat can be an issue.

        They can also be quite expensive to build, due to the materials involved (axial).

        The peak efficiency is lower, but due to the small size and weight other technologies can be employed to increase efficiency, that would not be possible with a conventional piston engine.

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  14. Anonymous Coward

    The worry....

    The worry is the cost of the replacement batteries. The thing about hybrids/electric cars is that the assumption is made that the car is purchased new. But the second hand market is huge. It's bad enough now with some diesel turbos getting coked up and needing replacing at 70,000 miles for a grand a pop (as happened with my own Golf 140TDi and it turned out I wasn't the only one), but what happens when the battery goes? A grand for a new battery or will people just drive around with flat batteries in the boot? After all, lets face it how many people do you need who run totally dead laptop batteries and have no intention of replacing them even though it's cheap and easy.

    Hybrids do look like a good idea but I'd want to see what starts happening to some of them when they have been on the road for five years. And will we hear of diesel hybrids doing 300,000 miles + as we do with traditional diesels?

    The answer I guess is that we have to wait and see.

    1. annodomini2

      Re: The worry....

      Manufacturers will love it then, cars obsolete in 3-5years = more sales.

    2. JohnG Silver badge

      Re: The worry....

      I've had a Prius for almost 7 years now and if there is any degradation in the battery pack, it is not apparent. A cheaper alternative to battery pack replacement is refurbishment and a number of companies (mostly in the USA) offer such services, mostly for the older 1st generation hybrids.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Too much software

    I drive a Peugeot diesel (ten years, 150K miles). Some bulbs in the dash and the radio need replacing but other than that it's fine. No ECU, no DPF. Nice and simple.

    Modern cars have too much electronics, and in particular too much software. Hybrids like this (with small market penetration and small userbase) are an extended beta test for the foreseeable future.

    This looks like a nice idea in principle though, given decent software development and testing practices.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: Too much software

      Indeed. My 2008 Fiat diesel has had two software crashes in six months - one in the climate control system and one in the laughingly-named 'media system'. Both required a complete key-out restart to start them again... curiously, the media system is apparently delivered by Microsoft, but opening and closing all the windows had no effect this time.

      That's two too many. Have embedded engineers forgotten about watchdogs?

      And don't even get me started on the abomination that is the user interface for the media system - that way lies apoplexy.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Too much software

        "delivered by Microsoft, but opening and closing all the Windows had no effect this time."

        Not funny.

        Windows problematic, doors can be too.

        There's a family of multiple unit trains in use in the Home Counties, I forget which one. Windows controls the on-train display screeens. They're not safety critical so it seems like they'll get away with it, right? Well, sort of. These display systems have an interlock with systems that are safety related - door management, if I remember rightly. And if the interlock doesn't work right (e.g. because the Windows display management system is down), the train can't move. So when the Window box running the doors crashes, the train is stuffed until Windows finishes rebooting...

  16. Leona A

    On the issue of French car reliability, our 2003 Citroen C3 (1.4TD) has done 110k miles with no major issues (pipe to EGR valve has blocked twice in that time, about 50p's worth of replacement pipe to fix). a friend of mine has a Citroen ZX which has covered over 300k! (1993 K-reg)

  17. Adam T

    I don't get it

    My wife's just bought an old Smart Roadster. £95/year road tax and £0.10 per mile on petrol, and drives like a Go-Kart with a license plate. Fun, cheap and the first time me and the missus have agreed on anything. Why don't people just make more of those?

    But why am I talking about how much my wife's new car costs, when the article doesn't seem to mention running costs at all?

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      Re: I don't get it

      The Smart Roadster is OK except for the awful semiauto gearbox. A fourspeed manual would be better, otherwise a nice and fun little car.

  18. TheRealRoland

    Funny, with all the frothing of the mouth about

    Mileage in imperial gallons/us gallons/litres-100km / liters-100km, whether French cars and electronics mix or not... The most obvious was missed:

    >In the cabin, the hybrid mode control in rather odd place

    Don't worry about the button, worry about the location of the wheel !!

    No, instead American cars, they're so much better (power windows no longer opening, A/C lines rusting because of being exposed to salt, rusting of body panels, etc.)

    Out of curiosity, is there still such a thing as a 'French-built car' ?

  19. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    Diesel-electric? Should it not be called U3008?

    I'll get me coat.

    1. nichomach
      Thumb Up

      Re: Diesel-electric? Should it not be called U3008?


  20. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    This failed

    as soon as I saw the Peugeot badge, had 2 French cars in my lifetime, Peugeot and Renault and both were crap.

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