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Peugeot’s Bugatti beater?

TG was at the launch of an electric Pug supercar capable of outpunching the Veyron. But did it work?

  1. One stone. One renegade, anarchic stone. A stone of dissent, you might think, intent on bringing the zero-emission, tree-hugging future crashing down on our heads.

    Yesterday, for a couple of minutes, TG witnessed the electric potential of the future. An electric supercar capable of matching the Bugatti Veyron to 62mph. Then Stone arrived, and TG witnessed the power of fate conspiring against The Future.

    Let us explain…

  2. What you see above is the EX1, and what it represents is a show of arms from a manufacturer desperate to reinvent itself. This year marks 200 years of Peugeot, and the EX1 is the third and final instalment in a monster birthday bash which included a new badge design and two racing RC-Zs taking class honours at this year’s Nurburgring 24hr race.

  3. Those very same RC-Zs were on display at the launch of the EX1 just outside of Paris, giving passenger rides around the Montlhery circuit; the same circuit where Awesome Dude Ken Block nailed a Fiesta for the adulation of millions of internet fans in Gymkhana 3.

  4. The covers were pulled from the EX1, Peugeot’s one-off, concept supercar built to set a new electric benchmark. First a gasp, then applause. There was lots of patting on the back. And if you believe Peugeot, there was also a palpable sense that the electric car world was, if you excuse the unavoidable pun, about to get shocked.

  5. Why? Because the EX1 has already struck out some Big Numbers: it’ll hit a standing quarter mile in 14.4s, a kilometre in 28.16s and a mile in 41.09s at a speed of 87.6mph – just three of the six international acceleration records it has taken for electric-powered vehicles.

  6. The monocoque body is made from a carbon/honeycomb composite and weighs 750kgs. The suicide doors are actually attached to the bucket seats, and the roof contains solar panels that use daylight energy to recharge it.

  7. It packs two electric motors – one on each axle, so it’s four-wheel drive – pushing out a total of 340bhp and is capable of 280 miles on a single charge. Except of course, when we came to play.

  8. Film-maker-turned-activist Nicolas Vanier – who helmed the EX1 during its record-breaking runs – was on hand at the display. He strapped himself in and gunned it for a demonstration run. Cue transmission noise. Electric cars tend to sound like an underground tube line but this sounded smoother, the mechanical whirr somehow layered in double fat cream.

  9. On a second demo lap however, the EX1 hit a stone which dislodged some Important Electric Part and cut it dead. All went even more, err, silent. Lots of worried-looking Frenchmen began frowning heavily and ran to the scene. The concept was stretchered away, and despite some last minute resuscitation, it didn’t work, and TopGear didn’t get a chance to play with it.

  10. Still, despite not having a go, the EX1 promises excitement. It’s the latest in a long line of tree-hugging concept supercars which include the Citroen Survolt, Audi E-Tron, Mercedes’ electric SLS, Porsche 918 Spyder, BMW Vision EfficientDynamics et al.

  11. And although this concept was purely a one-off built to celebrate Pug’s birthday, the company is serious about changing the perception of electric cars, so some of this tech could make its way into an electric city car.

    It also confirms that finally, Peugeot is becoming cool again. Watch this space…

    Click through the rest of the gallery for more pics

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