PARIS -- PSA/Peugeot-Citroen SA has begun delivery of electric versions of its Peugeot Partner and Citroen Berlingo car-derived vans.
PSA plans to make 1,500 units of the vans through 2011 with Monaco-based EV producer Venturi, which supplies the batteries, powertrain, and other EV-related components for the models.
Venturi, which is known for its high-powered EV sport cars, expects that its supply contract with PSA for EVs will remain limited to small volumes.
“We are specialized in low-volume production numbers,” Venturi CEO Gildo Pallanca Pastor told Automotive News Europe. “Eventually, EV vans will be produced in large quantities [on an industrywide basis], but our company will continue to address niche markets.”
PSA has delivered 250 units of the vans to the French postal service La Poste.
PSA also will begin sales later this month of two battery-powered small cars -- the Peugeot iOn and Citroen C-Zero. Both are based on the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and are produced in Japan as part of PSA's alliance with the Japanese automaker.
PSA bets on hybrids
PSA says it will continue to outsource much of its development and production of EVs. The company will concentrate in-house resources on hybrids , which the company says will be a much more important market for low-emission vehicles than full-electric cars.
PSA expects hybrid car sales to represent up to 11 percent of all cars sold in Europe by 2020, compared with 4 percent to 5 percent for EVs.
PSA will launch the diesel-electric Peugeot 3008 hybrid and gasoline-electric Citroen DS5 hybrid in 2011.
“We are focusing on our first wave of hybrids that will launch next year, which we feel is more important than our EV activity at this time,” a PSA spokesman said.
Carlos Da Silva, a market analyst at IHS Automotive, said that PSA is not betting as big on EVs in Europe as some other leading carmakers.
“PSA's roadmap to EV mobility is less radical than the ones at Renault-Nissan [or Volkswagen],” Da Silva said. “They believe in a gradual, smoother transition where hybrids take an important part.”