PSA/Peugeot-Citroen SA thinks that all of Europe's electric car needs can be met with a small van, a minicar and a model below a minicar.
The French automaker debuts its electric minicar later this year and is developing models to cover the other two segments, PSA electric vehicles director Ayoul Grouvel told Automotive News Europe in an interview earlier this month.
“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,” Grouvel said.
“We think a four-seat model such as the C-Zero or iOn is ideal for European urban-driving needs.”
According to PSA, the 130km (about 81-mile) range offered by its EVs is enough to satisfy the needs of 90 percent of European city commuters, who PSA says travel an average of 38km a day. Half of those people have a commute of less than 5km.
The risk of being stranded because of an empty battery is the No. 1 concern of potential EV customers, according to a survey done by the French automaker.
Grouvel said that fear is easy to overcome.
“For 92 percent of the day, a commuter car is parked, so there is plenty of time to recharge it,” Grouvel said.
It takes six hours to fully recharge a C-Zero/iOn using a 220-volt household outlet. Dedicated 380-volt fast-charging stations can provide an 80-percent charge in just 30 minutes.
The C-Zero and iOn are derivatives on Mitsubishi's i-MiEV electric car, which is already on sale in Japan. European sales of the i-MiEV start later this year while the car will make its U.S. debut in mid-2011. Mitsubishi Motors Corp. has agreed to make 100,000 EVs for PSA between now and 2015.
Below the minicar
PSA gave a strong hint on the direction it is heading with its sub-minicar when it debuted the BB1 concept at the Frankfurt auto show last September.
Right after unveiling the ultra-compact, lightweight electric vehicle concept in Frankfurt, PSA brand boss Jean-Marc Gales said: “Everything about the BB1 is radically new.”