The New e-C3 will be built in Stellantis’ factory in Trnava, Slovakia. It features a lower-priced 44-kilowatt-hour lithium-iron-phosphate battery with a range of 320 km, and has been carefully engineered to be designed to cost to meet the price target, Citroen executives said.
Prices will start at 23,300 euros, Citroen said. An urban-focused version with a 200 km range will be launched in early 2025 at a price of 19,990 euros.
Deliveries for the New e-C3 will open at the start of the second quarter of 2024, with production starting in the first quarter. Pre-orders start Wednesday.
Citroen will also sell internal-combustion versions of the car (to be called New C3), especially in countries where EV market penetration is low.
The New C3 will be key to help Citroen achieve its sales goals of 5 percent market share in Europe and 1 million units a year, CEO Thierry Koskas said. "The C3 is a very, very important car. It's 40 percent of what we sell," he said. "Renewing it and having an EV version will probably help us increase market share."
Citroen had a 3.8 percent share in Europe in September, according to figures from lobby group ACEA.
The New e-C3 is built on the Smart Car platform that was developed for India and other emerging markets, partly engineered by Tata Consulting as a modification of the CMP platform first developed by PSA Group and Dongfeng in the mid-2010s.
The Smart Car platform has been optimized to accept a flat battery, Koskas said, and was designed from the beginning to be fully electric. "It's not a Christmas tree in terms of technology, but it has everything you need in the B segment (small cars)," he said.
An Indian version of the New C3 was launched in 2022, with a full-electric powertrain offered from the start of 2023, but the New C3 for Europe is different in a number of ways, said Thierry Blanchard, B Segment (small cars) product manager at Citroen.
Among them are all-new body panels, although the basic "morphology" is the same, Blanchard said. The European model has different front- and rear-end treatments and interior, as well as larger wheels. From a technical standpoint, it meets European crash and safety regulations, and has a larger battery and different electric motor.
European models have a 44-kilowatt-hour battery from SVolt imported from China, as well as an electric motor designed and built by a joint venture with Nidec in Tremery, France. Charging time from 20 to 80 percent is 25 minutes.
The 25,000-euro barrier is seen as crucial to mass adoption of electric vehicles in Europe -- as well as the viability of building mass-market EVs in Europe -- ahead of a 2035 EU regulation limiting sales of new cars to zero-emission models.
The current market penetration of EVs is about 15 percent in Western Europe, which accounts for 90 percent of sales, as many countries in eastern and southern Europe, where incomes are lower, have EV market shares in the low- to mid-single digits.
Europe’s lowest-priced EV, the Dacia Spring minicar, which starts at 20,800 euros in France, is imported from China.