Peugeot to Concentrate on Gasoline-Electric Hybrids

February 13, 2003 by Jeff Shepard

PSA Peugeot Citroen (France) announced that it was abandoning its fuel cell plans and concentrating its research on gasoline-electric cars. Chief executive Jean-Martin Folz, said the technical barriers to fuel cell development meant hydrogen-powered cars would not be a commercial reality for at least 15 years. Peugeot will instead be launching hybrid cars, which use a battery to improve the efficiency of traditional petrol or diesel engines. Both Peugeot and Citroen-branded models would be launched next year.

The approach contrasts with that of the major US carmakers. The US government last month announced research funding of $1.2 billion for fuel cells, and the European Commission is also eager to channel cash into the technology. Folz stated, "We have decided not to embark on large expenses for development of this technology. The many obstacles that fuel cell cars are meeting justifies our decision."