How was PSA with electric cars in the past?


Citroën AX Electrique

Today few people remember, but there was a time in which the PSA Group -formerly PSA Peugeot Citroën- had the lead in electric cars. To tell you the truth, it was a market is extremely small, because very few fell into the hands of private individuals, and were mostly used by companies and institutions.

In the 90’s did appearance electric versions of the Citroën AX, Citroën Saxo, Peugeot 205 (prototype) and Peugeot 106, with the surname Electrique. With 27 BHP of power were able to ride between 90 and 110 km/h on end, with autonomy for 80-100 miles, or a maximum of 200 km in conditions totally favourable.

The technology of batteries was in diapers and relied on nickel-cadmium (heavy, bulky, and low capacity). At least they had the advantage of that is loading reasonably fast, the 80% in a couple of hours and a full recharge in six hours. As are small cars and light engines in reality spent little electricity and the batteries do not need to store as much amount of energy.


Peugeot 106 Electrique

An experiment of 10 years

The cars were offered in countries that are very concrete, such as United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands or Norway, although the majority are distributed by France. It was thought in producing a 100,000 utilities-electric, but went in optimistic, did not reach or 10% of that amount. It was not their time, and the oil was very cheap as to be competitive. Were withdrawn from the market in 2003.

Passed a few years until I went back to try something as well. Already in 2008, announced a strategic alliance with Mitsubishi to offer an electric car city with four seats and a trunk “enough” of 170 litres, based on the Mitsubishi i. We’re talking about a subcompact to the japanese style, and very compact in proportions: 3.4 metres long. They came to the market on the scheduled date, in 2010, as Mitsubishi i I miev, Citroën C-Zero and Peugeot i0n. A year before he opened the process of pre-booking.

Mitsubishi would have to supply PSA to 100,000 units

The competence of those cars was virtually non-existent, mainly the Think City, a project that was started by Ford several years before, and that ended up in other hands. That car was a turismo, for all purposes, not a quadricycle, electric, and had a very high price. PSA and Mitsubishi intended to sell tens of thousands of units of its trio of electric, offering more car at a more competitive price, less than 30,000 euros.


Citroën C-Zero

on the other hand, also arrived in 2010, the electric versions of their van compact, the Citroën Berlingo First and Peugeot Partner Origin, manufactured in Spain with the collaboration of Venturi Automobiles. These products are designed to customers flotistas, companies and public administrations, not so much as to individuals. Yes, in the first phase of the marketing of the triplets, electrical, those were the main customers, and came to be the 90% of the sales.

Let’s look at how they have been such sales:

Model / year 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Citroën C-Zero 350 2.074 3.348 338 557 1,374 entries
Peugeot i0n 350 2.392 2.905 467 750 1.561

The main problem that they had called Nissan Leaf, a car that was more upscale (segment C), more spacious, more boot, with more features and autonomy fully competitive. On the other hand, Renault attacked with less success with the electric version of Renault Fluence and then with an electric designed from the ground up, the Renault ZOE. right Now Renault-Nissan is the world leader in electric vehicles, by a landslide.

in The end, the approach that has worked is the development of electric cars from a blank sheet of paper, instead of adapting existing models and have the complexity of where to place the batteries. In the Fluence ZE, for example, batteries left middle trunk useless, and he had to lengthen a lot of the rear overhang. Has been short in the market, and you can find orphaned drives by prices that are totally ridiculous, even brand new.


Peugeot i0n

The C-Zero and i0n have not been discontinued yet, but their survival in the market has become very complicated. Citroen and Peugeot offer this model for 23.190 euros, taking into account a grant of 3,000 euros. The sales forecast has not been met, but have already been sold in greater numbers than the first generation of the 90.

Their replacements will be based on the platform e-CMP, which has been presented this month, are already without links with Mitsubishi. derivatives kei-car are very difficult to sell in the european market, even in countries with high tax to the car, and with many loads for the conventional models. Having appeared in the midst of the economic crisis was not precisely to have the gift of opportunity.

Maybe in the offices of Paris responsible for PSA thought that he was going “to sell alone”, whereas we speak of the second group that most vehicles sold in Europe, and their products have a lot of commercial visibility. There has not been enough. we Hope that the third time lucky, because that effort two decades deserve to be compensated in some way.