By Peugeot’s own admission their HX1 is a prospective concept car, so there’s not the slightest change that you’ll see it on the roads anytime soon. It is designed to help envisage future solutions in architecture, aerodynamics, modularity, equipment, interior materials and the environment, plus not forgetting, of course, powerplants.

So the HX1 is a futuristic vehicle – a long way in the future. But there’s still plenty to interest us here in 2011.

The HX1 has been designed with an MPV architecture in mind, with unique dimensions: low (1.373 m) and wide (1.990 m overall) and with a length of 4.954 m. Four reverse-opening ‘half-scissor’ doors can be opened wide for ease of access to the HX1 passenger compartment, which has been structured so as to offer maximum comfort for the two passengers in the rear row and maximum sensation for the occupants of the first row.

If required, two retractable seats can be configured in a centre row due to a clever system of “pull-out seats”, based on the same principle used on the HR1 Concept Car (First shown at the 2010 Paris Motor Show).

Designers have taken aerodynamics to the extreme with HX1. Its sculpted form is shaped to optimise the car’s airflow – The seven ‘spokes’ in each wheel rim spike, fashioned like a turbine blade, open to create a flat disc surface. At the same time, a spoiler and two side skirts located at the top of the tailgate are deployed above 62.1mph. When moving, the HX1 therefore adapts itself ‘physically’ to its environment. The HX1 therefore achieves a Cd figure of 0.28; pretty impressive for an MPV.

HYbrid4 ‘plug-in’ power plant

The HX1 integrates HYbrid4 technology, an innovative modular architecture that figures in the Peugeot range on the 3008 HYbrid4, the first diesel hybrid in the world; technology which will also be present on the 508 RXH in 2012.

The principle behind HYbrid4 is simple: With an internal combustion diesel engine at the front (powering the front wheels) and an electric motor to the rear (powering the rear wheels), the technology enables all four wheels to be driven when the engine and motor work together, for increased safety and traction in extreme conditions. It also enables the vehicle to be driven at low speeds powered just by the electric motor in ‘Zero Emissions Vehicle’ mode.

Under the bonnet of the HX1 the engine is a 204 bhp, 2.2 litre HDi diesel, linked to an automatic 6-speed gearbox; the same powertrain as that used on the 508’s range-topping GT version. Coupled with a 70 kW (95 bhp) electric motor, the combined output can develop a potential 220 kW (299 bhp).

However, Peugeot takes the HX1 one step further. It’s equipped with ‘plug-in’ functionality: the lithium-ion batteries can be recharged by ‘plugging in’ the vehicle to a standard 240V mains electric socket which means it can have a longer ‘EV’ range (it can cover up to 18.6 miles in all-electric drive mode. Overall though, the HX1 achieves a combined fuel consumption of 88.2mpg with CO2 emissions of 83 g/km.

The HX1 Concept will debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show on 13 September, together with the diesel-electric hybrid 508 RHX.