Citroen to build cheap, fast-charging electric cars for the masses

Just as Citroen starts to deliver their all-electric Ami in Britain, the company’s UK boss Eurig Druce explains the companies vision for cheap electric cars.

By 2024 Citroen will have replaced its two cheapest cars, the C3 and C3 Aircross. They will have electric versions. (Don’t confuse them with the Indian-built C3, which is a different car even though it’s fairly new.)

Druce said: “We want electric cars for more people than £40,000 two-tonners. The average Citroen is in the low £20k range. There’s a mismatch with the EV market.”

That’s an opportunity as well as an environmental and legal obligation, according to Druce, since already more than half the C4s sold in Britain are electric. “But at the moment no manufacturer can compete on price with a petrol car.”

I point out that Citroen must be in a pretty good position since its sister brands Vauxhall and Peugeot have the relatively cheap Corsa Electric and e-208. He says they’re still more expensive than his aim. “It’s a tough sell to say [the higher price is offset by] lower running costs than petrol, and as electricity goes up it’s blown out of the water.”

He explains how to get there. “Affordability means not having big batteries. The argument is usability not range. So we have to make electric cars that are efficient and can charge at high power. That will get the charge time down. We will right-size the battery and reduce vehicle weight. They’re the things we really need.”

A quick charge time with a small battery is fine for most superminis – to drive 120 miles takes two hours minimum, and by then most people need a break. What matters is that there’s a reliable rapid charger at the place they stop. “That’s the Government’s job.” Without legislation, energy companies will be too slow to act on charging points, because profits from petrol and diesel are too easy to come by.

“When you talk about a petrol car, the first thing you mention isn’t the size of the petrol tank, because there’s a petrol station within 15 minutes.”

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