FOCUS ON: Citroen
Let’s discount the electric Berlingo van, the dabbles with prototype EVs and the C-Zero of 2009, a rather unloved early electric car based on the Mitsubishi i-Miev. Instead, 2020 marked the real beginning of Citroen’s concerted push into electric cars, which will culminate in every Citroen model having either an electric or PHEV alternative by 2025.
The reduced noise and vibration of electric powertrains dovetails nicely with Citroen’s stated move back to its traditional strength of cars that put sporting characteristics on the back burner in favour of comfort.
✪ STAR CAR ✪
WHAT IS IT?
Citroen’s return to the lower-medium sector with a petrol, diesel and, for the first time, electric hatchback.
WHAT’S IT POWERED BY?
The Corsa is powered by a 100kW motor offering 136hp, and an 80% charge is possible in half an hour, if a 100kW charger can be found.
As a full electric vehicle, the e-C4 has zero tailpipe emissions.
HOW QUICK IS IT?
Pace isn’t the e-C4’s calling card, with Citroen focusing with success on its vehicles’ comfort rather than speed. The 136hp e-C4 will still get from 0-62mph in 9.0 seconds.
WHATS THE RANGE?
The official figure is 217 miles, giving the car a very usable real-world figure.
IS IT TAX EFFICIENT?
As with all zero-emission models, the e-C4 incurs no BiK or company NI this tax year, and is only in the 1% band for 2021/22.
ANYTHING ELSE I NEED TO KNOW?
Citroen has increased its predictions for the electric version of the new C4, now expecting it to take around 20% of C4 volume in the wake of growing EV demand over the past 12 months.
The arrival of the plug-in hybrid version of the C5 Aircross last year was the beginning; it is the brand’s first PHEV and a model with an official EV-only range of 34 miles, putting it in the 12% Benefit-in-Kind band for company car tax. Indeed, the plug-in is predicted to take at least a fifth of the C5 Aircross volume this year.
One look at the tax equation makes the situation clear – the 225hp PHEV will cost a 40% taxpayer £123 a month in this 2020/21 tax year, compared to the 180hp diesel’s £392 a month.
The C5 Aircross combines a 180hp 1.6-litre petrol engine and 80kW electric motor powered by a 13.2kWh battery, and it can operate in electric-only mode at up to 83mph, where allowed.
Towards the end of last year, the first of Citroen’s new breed of electric vehicles arrived, in the form of both Dispatch van and SpaceTourer passenger EV versions of the large model.
The SpaceTourer gets a 50kWh battery that offers a range figure of 148 miles, while the e-Dispatch has a choice of 50kWh or 75kWh batteries, with respective official range figures of 143 miles and 205 miles respectively.
Next up in the coming weeks is the new e-C4.
Then there’s the oddball Citroen Ami. Technically not a car, the little electric two-seater is primed for car-share use in large cities, having already started to appear in Paris. It’s like a more waterproof ‘Boris Bike’, in that the concept centres on hire for short periods, with users returning it to various points across a city. It has a range of 43 miles and top speed of 28mph.
As yet, it isn’t confirmed for the UK, but the chances are improving, with Citroen having recently brought a pair of cars over from France to test the demand. It would cost around £7,000 to buy outright, or can be leased for a nominal amount. In France, 16-year-olds are licensed to drive.
The light commercial vehicle range is the next focus for Citroen’s moves to a greener line-up, with the e-Berlingo arriving in the UK in the final quarter of this year, and the e-Relay also due to be unveiled in 2021, joining the e-Dispatch that hit the road late last year.
The e-Berlingo gets the same EV system already seen in various car models, which means a 50kWh battery mated to a 100kW electric motor, and the van’s official range figure sits at 171 miles. It will come to the UK in three configurations of M, XL and Crew Van, with a maximum payload of 800kg. An app will allow remote control of charging and pre-heating or pre-cooling.