Hybrid Air concept car

In 2013 a concept car was unveiled showing the working of the Citroen C3 powered by compressed air as a fuel source.
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Model: C3 2002-2005, Original shape model
Year: 2002 (02)
Engine Size: NA
Fuel Type: Petrol
Mileage: 80000
Trim Level: Stop & Start
Gearbox: Manual 5 speed
Engine name: BlueHDi (100 PS)


Citroen C3 Air Powered Concept Car
Citroen C3 Air Powered Concept Car
citroen_c3_air_powered_concept_car.webp (25.11 KiB) Viewed 22 times

Citroen C3 Hybrid Air - compressed air engine

The Citroen C3, powered by compressed air, was made into a cut-away concept car to show off the features and where the air storage system is fitted.


The air-powered Citroen C3 concept car was shown at Geneva Car Show 2013. It had a petrol engine and a compressed air source. The idea is similar to the current hybrid cars with petrol and electric, where the petrol can assist or be run on cleaner fuel in cities and towns or the petrol-only mode when the air tank is depleted.


Compressed air is an energy store that can be used for town driving that requires cleaner emissions. There is regenerative braking, and the petrol engine can run the air compressor to recharge it.

Generally, the whole system is much cleaner than batteries because there are no chemicals like lithium to be mined to produce the batteries, and the end-of-life for the compressed air fuel cell is much easier to deal with.


With safety concerns for the compressed air and longevity concerns to overcome, the investment wasn't available to produce the new vehicle-use technology.

Storage Tanks

Compressed Nitrogen/Air tank
Compressed Nitrogen/Air tank
citroen_c3_concept_air_powered_tank_location.webp (34.64 KiB) Viewed 22 times
Hydraulic fluid storage tank
Hydraulic fluid storage tank
citroen_c3_concept_car_hydraulic_fluid_tank.webp (39 KiB) Viewed 22 times
Two additional locations for the storage tanks were required. The rear petrol tank area shares space with the compressor oil tank at the car's rear. The compressed Nitrogen tank is a cylindrical container in the transmission tunnel.


  • 81 bhp petrol unit
  • 120 total horsepower output


The video shows how the system was expected to work, switching between air-powered petrol engines and energy recovery modes.
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