The next Peugeot 3008 will be an electric car inspired by the radical Inception concept | Top Gear
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The next Peugeot 3008 will be an electric car inspired by the radical Inception concept

And we'll see the 'Hypersquare' steer-by-wire system in action by 2026

Published: 17 Jan 2023

Following the reveal of Peugeot's radical Inception concept car, we've been asking the firm's global marketing chief Phil York what it actually means for the cars he'll be selling. A lot, he says.

As soon as 2024, Peugeot will make use of the Stellantis Group's 'medium' electric platform, with single or twin motor installation and a range of battery sizes from 87kWh and up.

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So which is the car that will use this platform and make the switch to full-electric-only? York won't say. I put it to him that the firm's oldest car is the 3008 and so that's the next one to be replaced, and it'll be at the end of its eight-year lifecycle in 2024. "You can do the maths," he smiles, pointedly not contradicting our simple deduction.

The Inception doesn't actually use that 'medium' platform, but the 'large' one, which has 800V tech, and almost 500 miles of range. But York tells me the first car, that is the new 3008, will use the medium one, which runs at 400V. Even so, the target is class-leading charge speed.

The design of the Inception, inside and out, is a pointer to the next 3008 and beyond. I mention it has shades of the well-received e-Legend concept from late 2018, which was a bit retro. York says: "The red thread is Matthias [Hossan, Peugeot's design director]. He was behind the e-Legend too. I see a bit of 505 in the Inception, but it is really very modern."

The Inception's theme if not the proportions will be there on the 3008. York says: "We call it 'feline future'. It's angular but with some rounded elements. It has strong haunches, and we exaggerate the existing claw design of the lights. For materials, we'll replace black and chrome with simpler, raw materials showing natural beauty. The paint is a single coat."

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The Inception's interior is a signpost too. "We'll use moulded upholstery and sustainable materials." When the 2016 3008 launched, it was a real step ahead for Peugeot's cabin quality and design, so it's only right that the next one does the same.

Most significant of all, the Inception has no steering wheel. Instead of a wheel, the control is called 'Hypersquare'. It's a rounded oblong, and on its face are context-dependent rotary controls and a screen with swiping gesture control. It's possible because the car has variable-ratio steer-by-wire. At low speed the front wheels take on a big angle for a small movement of your hands, to give it manoeuvrability. At high speed the wheels move less, so it's stable.

That's why you can get away without a steering wheel: you never have to shuffle or cross your hands. (Hence the failure of the Tesla yoke: it has a fixed mechanical rack not steer-by wire.)

York confirms the Hypersquare and steer-by-wire will arrive with a Peugeot in late 2025 or early ’26. "We've tested it with customers and they like it. It has a gaming feel. It's intuitive, agile and precise." Having steer-by-wire will also aid autonomous driving, but we're not holding our breath for that.

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Peugeot is planning five new electric cars by the end of 2025. First three are battery versions of the existing 308, 308SW and 408. Then come the electric-only new-gen 3008. Then a bigger car, likely to do the job of the 508, with Hypersquare.

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