November 27, 2020

Peugeot Bets on a Different Kind of Hybrid

It’s the Hybrid Air — an experimental vehicle that the French automaker PSA Peugeot Citroën has been trumpeting lately as an exemplar of energy efficiency. While some skeptics doubt whether it is truly breakthrough technology, the Peugeot and Citroën concept cars containing it may prove to be some of the more intriguing models on display next week at the Geneva Motor Show.

Peugeot says a compact car like a Citroën C3 equipped with the technology will get about 100 kilometers per 2.9 liters, or 81 miles per gallon, in city driving. If so, that would be significantly more than existing hybrid electric vehicles like the Toyota Prius can achieve in stop-and-go traffic.

Peugeot, the second-biggest carmaker in Europe after Volkswagen, plans to begin rolling out Hybrid Air cars by 2015 or 2016.

Like a Toyota Prius, the Hybrid Air recovers energy each time the driver brakes or decelerates. But instead of using that braking energy to charge a battery, which then runs an electric motor — as in the Prius — the Hybrid Air has a reversible hydraulic pump that uses the braking energy to compress nitrogen gas in what looks like an oversized scuba tank. When the Hybrid Air driver next presses the accelerator, the compressed gas pushes hydraulic fluid, syringe fashion, through a gearbox to turn the wheels.

The energy stored in the nitrogen tank is small — equivalent to only about five teaspoons, or a couple dozen cubic centimeters, of gasoline — and enough to power the car only a few hundred meters before the standard gasoline motor takes over again. But repeated over the course of a day of city driving, Peugeot says, those extra teaspoons of energy add up to big improvement in gas mileage.

The idea of using so-called hybrid hydraulics to power a car has been around for a while, although Peugeot prefers to call it “hybrid air technology” because the energy is stored in the compressed gas, rather than the hydraulics. In the United States, Ford Motor and Chrysler have studied the approach with encouragement from the Environmental Protection Agency. UPS, the parcel service, has added several dozen hybrid hydraulic delivery vans to its alternative fuel fleet. Other companies are applying the technology to garbage trucks, which like UPS vans, are big, make frequent stops and stand to recover much of their wasted energy. The Indian auto company Tata has promised to produce a car powered solely by compressed air, although that uses a different technology than Peugeot’s approach.

Peugeot, with a 200-member Hybrid Air team led by Karim Mokaddem, an engineer, appears to be moving the fastest of any global automaker to bring the technology to the family car, while most of the industry has focused on hybrid electrics as the main alternative vehicles for reducing emissions and saving gasoline.

“The logic of an electric hybrid is completely different,” Andrés Yarce, another of the project leaders, said in Peugeot’s technical center in Carrières-sous-Poissy, near Paris. With an electric hybrid, “you let the vehicle run for a few kilometers, have the engine shut off, then run silently on an electric motor,” Mr. Yarce said. “It took time for people to grasp that the Hybrid Air works differently but gets the same results.”

When the car is ready for the market, Peugeot plans to price it below €20,000, or $26,000.

Mr. Mokaddem said the pricing was meant to make the Hybrid Air a viable option in emerging markets like China and India, where many hybrid electrics are too expensive for most consumers and too complex for local service and repair operations.

Peugeot says it can undercut hybrid electrics on price because its car does not require a special, expensive battery and electric motor that vehicles like the Prius use, although the Hybrid Air does employ a standard car battery. The hydraulic system also adds about 100 kilograms, or 220 pounds, to the weight of a conventional Citroën or Peugeot. And because of the heat generated by the energy transfer process, the designers have had to adapt the car’s cooling system.

The most obvious difference between the prototype Hybrid Air and an ordinary car is the presence of two air tanks (the second, smaller tank is a low-pressure receptacle) and a special gearbox that manages the energy handoffs between the hydraulics and the 1.2-liter standard gasoline engine. The designers say the setup left them room to keep a standard-size trunk and gas tank.

The accumulator, or pressurized nitrogen tank is 1.3 meters, or about 4 feet, long, with a volume of 20 liters, or 5.3 gallons, and a maximum pressure of 250 bar, or about 3,600 pounds per square inch.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/02/business/global/peugeot-bets-on-a-different-kind-of-hybrid.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

You’re the Boss: Fire Closes Start-Up Restaurant

The long-awaited summer season was about to begin.Courtesy of Southfork Kitchen.The long-awaited summer season was about to begin.
Start-Up Chronicle

Friday night went suspiciously smoothly. The first night of the summer season flowed without incident, without anyone waiting, without a single disgruntled guest, staffer or friend. Spectacularly smooth. I was waiting for the first shoe to drop. Never happened. The hospitality flowed both ways, from staff to sun-drenched guests and back to the front of the house. Everyone was relieved to feel summery, even if or especially because we had skipped spring.

For us, the eight months spent preparing for this inaugural ball suddenly felt like a normal gestation period. No labor pains. It was going to be a memorable Memorial Day weekend. If smoking were permitted in the restaurant, I might have handed out Cohibas. We had 100 guests. With an $87 check average. You do the math. A guy could get used to this.

That same guy could also sense a foreboding behind the equipoise; he knows a dark cloud surrounds every silver lining.

Saturday night we had another 100 reservations and expected a couple dozen walk-ins; reservations for the next week were filling up apace. The high tide was rolling in and the staffers, front and back, were surfing it. Morale was good. Confidence was tall. Money was about to nourish our sustainable lives.

As I walked out of the house for the evening shift, I said to my wife “I’ll see you at the restaurant later. Last night was so cool, don’t be surprised if you walk into some fireworks.”

Driving to the restaurant, listening to the cheerily cynical “Uncle John’s Band” on the radio, I heard the phone ring. It was Chef Joe: “I don’t want to alarm you, boss, but there’s something wrong in the kitchen.”

There was smoke. There was the smell of burning wood. And this was in a smallish kitchen that always had smoke and smells. Were this a movie, there would have been organ music, quiet, slightly dissonant chords, building slowly, inexorably. There were no alarms, no flashing lights. We checked the basement and checked the roof. Time stood still as the chefs scurried to every nook and cranny with flashlights and prayers. We checked the walls, inside and out. We were hoping it was some passing anomaly, a smoldering fish ember that would burn itself out and let us return to the lovely business at hand. We knew what a phone call to the fire department would mean.

Two cliches danced on the floor of my numb skull: “Better safe than sorry” was twirling “where there’s smoke …”

We called the fire department. Two men in uniforms walked into the kitchen and looked around. I heard: “Evacuate the building.” I was motionless for a split second. “I said evacuate the building — everyone, now.”

We walked from table to table and calmly asked guests to please carry their drinks into the parking lot, that there was nothing to worry about. That was both true and not. Behind the stainless steel wall, in the cavity behind the ovens, inside the fire-rated dry wall, spreading to the two-by-six wooden studs, something was smoldering. Behind the steely façade, in the fatalistic part of the psyche, somewhere between my heart and my wallet, something was smoldering all right.

Like everyone else, I was quarantined to the parking lot. I walked about, offering glasses of fresh water and mini-disquisitions on the perverse nature of humor in the universe. A kaleidoscope of sights passed before my eyes with almost no sound, save the spooky organ music in my head. Firefighters swarming like bumble bees, gloves swinging hatchets, hoses snaking around corners, firefighters climbing ladders, a well-dressed couple with martinis and stunned faces, whaler’s hooks tearing at the kitchen ceiling, smartphones used as cameras, firefighters on the roof, a woman grabbing my hand empathetically, ladders digging into copper gutters, faces half-hidden by cellphones, firefighters revving up chainsaws, firefighters cutting through cedar shingles, firefighters tearing apart an exterior wall, firefighters dousing the fire shooting from the new hole in the back of the restaurant.

I looked away. I saw tears flowing down the faces of cooks and busboys. I hugged Chef Joe. More than the cold-water trucks and the hot flames, more than dread or anger, I was struck by the emotions. Managers and back servers, hostesses and bartenders. God only knows what personal baggage they brought to this scene, what losses they had experienced, but they sure felt connected to this place, this mass of wood and steel and fireproof drywall. Restaurant people are never really comfortable outside of restaurants. Especially on a holiday. Especially on a holiday on the first night of summer in the Hamptons. And here they were, watching their summers go up in smoke.

Lara had grabbed the reservation list before her exit and was calling each and every person. Veronica was calling Sunday night’s guests. They wanted to know what to say. “What can we say?” I said. “We had a small fire and we will be closed for a while, until, until …” I was suddenly transported back to city hall and begging for renovation permits and construction applications and health department sign-offs. All the hellish memories I had successfully repressed came flooding back like P.T.S.D. For a spark of a second, I thought I saw the devil dancing on the roof just above the flames.

When the fire was extinguished, when the firefighters were finished cleaning up the debris, when the guests were permitted to drive away, the fire marshal wanted to talk. He apologized for any unnecessary damage. I told him the job was excellent, the destruction kept to a minimum. I asked him who was to blame. I had five fingers on each hand and was ready to point impolitely at someone, anyone, everyone, to assign responsibility, exorcise guilt, collect money. We have cooked a thousand meals in this same kitchen on these same Garland stoves.

Tonight, there was a fire. Tonight, there had to be a reason.

“Fire is a funny thing,” said the fire marshal, expecting no laughs. He said everything was up to snuff, every letter of the law had been followed, and we could essentially rebuild the kitchen in exactly the same fashion. After we got permits and passed inspections.

Chef Joe pulled me aside. “Did he just say what I thought he said? That everything was built according to code and we could rebuild it exactly the same way?”

You don’t have to be Smokey Bear to find a grand canyon in that logic. I pressed the marshal on his declaration. He pointed to two screws that were virtually pointing back at him.

“Those two screws,” he said.

“We have 20 screws in the wall,” I said. “They hold up the pots and pans.”

“But those two screws, they got hot and they conduct heat, and they started the fire in your Sheetrock. Those two screws.”

Two screws. There are too many punch lines, too many plays on words, too many blue screw jokes. You can write your own.

Fire is a funny thing.

I wish I were in on the joke.

____________________________________

Here is a list of 10 things for which I am grateful after the fire:

1. Grateful for no injuries.
2. Grateful for minimal damage (so far).
3. Grateful for a staff that is loyal and true.
4. Grateful for fires that ignite during service and do not secretly smolder until the middle of the night.
5. Grateful for a volunteer fire department that is fast and professional.
6. Grateful the first flush of media reports were accurate and without malice.
7. Grateful this was not part of July 4 fireworks.
8. Grateful for insurance (so far).
9. Grateful for a charred sense of humor.
10. Grateful for 22 non-hot screws.

Bruce Buschel owns Southfork Kitchen, a restaurant in Bridgehampton, N.Y.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=029db6e9edb7411020b120b98fa1e9ef