PSA Group confirmed it's evaluating Aquarius Engines's technology of a single-piston engine-generator for plug-in hybrid applications.
The Israeli startup was founded in 2014, and boasts an engine-generator that is "dramatically cheaper, smaller, cleaner and more efficient than existing power generators".
Reportedly, PSA has agreed to fund further development, searching for a potentially revolutionary solution that would put the French carmaker into a better competitive position.
The PSA Group (Peugeot, Citroën and DS) badly needs some breakthrough technologies, as the company's crisis (from 2012 to 2014) neglected R&D.
"PSA, which declined further comment, is pursuing an ambitious turnaround following a 2012-14 crisis that saw it fall behind competitors on research and development until it secured a cash bailout from the French state and China's Dongfeng."
PSA's latest plan for electrification is to introduce 11 new plug-ins between 2019-2021. Specifically, 4 all-electric vehicles (with 450 km NEDC range) and 7 plug-in hybrids.
Several prototype vehicles with Aquarius Engines are to be road-tested in 2017.
"In a rethink of engine fundamentals, Aquarius has pared the range extender down to a single piston that blasts to and fro inside a valveless 600cc cylinder, generating power from electromagnetic coils with each stroke. It delivers more than twice the overall energy efficiency of a typical combustion engine, according to simulations by German engineering firm FEV."
"At an estimated $17,000 per vehicle, costs should undercut both conventional hybrids that come in closer to $25,000 and pure-electrics at around $40,000, the private company projects."