Peugeot hopes to draw buyers to the brand's first mass-market full-electric vehicle -- the e-208 -- with a long-term battery warranty and lease rates that are comparable to internal combustion versions. The favorable terms are part of Peugeot's ambitions to have the e-208 account for 15 percent of its new small hatchback's global volume.
Last year, Peugeot sold about 230,000 208s in Europe and 295,000 globally. Europe is expected to be the No. 1 market for the EV, which goes on sale at the end of 2019 (gasoline and diesel versions of the new-generation 208 will go on sale this autumn). IHS Markit forecasts that Peugeot will produce about 350,000 208s in 2020, with the e-208 making up a significant portion of that extra volume.
Sales prices for the 208 will be announced this spring, but Peugeot is already promoting a 48-month, 60,000-km, 299 euro-a-month lease for the e-208, with a down payment of 2,400 euros. The company says the terms compare favorably to gasoline versions (269 euros a month) and diesel versions (289 euros a month) of the 208 when the cost of fuel is taken into consideration.
"When you add usage costs, the electric version is actually less expensive," Sylvain Chereau, Peugeot's EV director, told Automotive News Europe. "TCO (total cost of ownership) is the central message to our customers." Volkswagen is promoting a similar plan for its ID range of electric vehicles, with the first model expected to go on sale in 2020.
Unlike some competitors, including Europe's 2018 top-sellers, the No. 1 Nissan Leaf and No. 2 Renault Zoe, Peugeot will not lease the battery separately. Instead, the e-208 will have an eight-year, 160,000-km warranty, at the end of which it promises the battery will still be able to retain 70 percent of its charge. "We want to keep it simple," Chereau said.
Europe's electric car segment was the region's fastest-growing sector, with sales last year that grew 41 percent to 233,254 units in a flat market. Overall, the share of electric cars sold in Europe grew to 1.5 percent of the total market from 1.1 percent in 2017. The second-generation Nissan Leaf reclaimed the segment lead with 39,994 sales, marginally ahead of the segment's 2017 leader, the Renault Zoe (38,227). The Hyundai Ioniq rounded out the top three, slipping one spot from 2017, even though its sales rose 45 percent to 31,918 units.
New competitors such as the Tesla Model 3, which JATO figures show took the lead as Europe's top-selling EV through February, are starting to appear in Europe, because the EU's tougher CO2 level of 95 grams per kilometer starts to take effect next year. Some relatively new models in the segment include the Hyundai Kona and Ioniq EVs and the e-Niro, from Hyundai sister brand Kia.
Other significant debuts this year will be models from Peugeot siblings such as the DS3 Crossback e-tense and Opel/Vauxhall Corsa EV. Both will be built on the same e-CMP platform as the e-208. Another key model will be the revamped Zoe. The next generation of the Peugeot 2008 small crossover could also appear by year-end, with an electric version similar to that of the DS3 Crossback.
"We have to get down to 95 grams," Peugeot CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato told ANE. He is counting on the e-208 and plug-in hybrid versions of the 508 and 3008 (both emit about 49g/km of CO2) to play a crucial role. According to JATO, Peugeot's fleet CO2 average in 2018 was 107.7g/km -- the second-best figure in Europe after hybrid-heavy Toyota, but Peugeot was still more than 3g/km above its 2017 figure.
Government support will also play a bigger role in electric vehicle sales in some countries. In France, for example, electric vehicles are eligible for a 6,000 euro rebate, up to 27 percent of the total purchase price. And starting Jan. 1, 2020 buyers who turn in older, high-polluting vehicles for scrappage can get up to 5,000 euros if they buy a new EV. EV owners can get a tax rebate for much of the cost of home charging stations, and some cities will provide free parking.