Peugeot-Citroen Developing New Electric Vehicles for Europe

French automaker, PSA/Peugeot-Citroen SA, believes that Europe’s electric vehicle needs can be served by just three body styles: the small van, the minicar and the micro or sub-mini vehicle.

Later this year, PSA will debut an electric minicar and is actively developing vehicle for the other two segments. On Monday, PSA announced that it has inked a deal with Japanese automaker, Mitsubishi Motor Corporation, to develop an electric small commercial van.

PSA electric vehicles director Ayoul Grouvel said, “In December, we will begin delivering the first units of the Citroen C-Zero and Peugeot iOn electric minicars, a size of vehicle that represents the core of our electric vehicle offer. We think a four-seat model such as the C-Zero or iOn is ideal for European urban-driving needs.”

PSA says the approximately 81 mile range of its EVs should satisfy the needs of most European consumers, about 90% of whom drive an average of 23 miles per day. Numerous studies have shown that range anxiety (the fear of being stranded due to an empty battery) is a major obstacle for electric carmakers.

Grouvel said, “For 92% of the day, a commuter car is parked, so there is plenty of time to recharge it.” The Citroen C-Zero / Peugeot iOn can be fully recharged in as little as six hours using a 220-volt outlet found in most residences. The model’s battery pack can be 80% recharged in as little as 30 minutes using a 380-volt, rapid recharging station.

Last September, PSA gave an indication of its microcar strategy when it unveiled its BB1 sub-minicar concept vehicle at the Frankfurt auto show.  Although it seats four, the BB1 is the same length as the first-generation ForTwo from Daimler AG-owned Smart. PSA is also looking at two-, three- and three-plus-one configurations for its future minicars.

Grouvel said, “We see a gap between a three-wheel, gasoline-electric hybrid scooter our motorcycle division is developing for an upcoming market debut and the iOn/C-Zero. Therefore, we are currently looking at the right size and proper features for such a vehicle. We have not even decided yet if the production vehicle will be a proper passenger car or a quadricycle.”

Four wheel quadricycles were officially recognized by the European Union in 1992 and offer a number of advantages for automakers and consumers. They are far less regulated than their traditional passenger vehicles. They do not require crash testing and in a number of European countries, including France and Italy, they do not require that the operator possess a passenger vehicle driver’s license.

The Peugeot 3008 Hybrid 4 minivan is scheduled to launch in March, and PSA has just announced a partnership with Mitsubishi to develop electric and hybrid powertrains for future offerings. Grouvel said, “We see goods delivery as the biggest potential in the first phase of the electrification of urban mobility.”

PSA predicts that electric vehicles will comprise 4.5% of all vehicles in the European market by 2020.

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