Citroen will build an electric C3 that'll cost around £20,000
Citroen makes good on its promise of low-priced EVs with upcoming supermini that'll do 186 miles
Early next year Citroën will make good on its promise of low-priced electric cars with the new ë-C3. It's a proper supermini too, rather than a version of the out-there Oli concept car or wheeled-Tupperware Ami.
The car isn't a direct derivative of the existing Vauxhall Corsa e or Peugeot e-208, and that's how Citroën has managed to cut the cost. It's based on the platform of the electric version of a car – also called C3 (pictured above) – that Citroen makes in India. But the new European ë-C3 will have restyled exterior panels and interior.
The price in France will be "below €25,000" Citroen boss Thierry Koskas told TopGear.com. Citroen UK tells us the price here isn't decided yet. So let's do the sums ourselves. Relating Koskas's quote to the sticker on an ë-C4 in France, and you'll work back to a UK price of around £20,000.
The range will be "over 300km" WLTP, which is 186-plus miles. That puts it ahead of nearly all the 'city car EV' pack, all of which cost more anyway.
Despite the low cost, it's the same size as the current European C3 at around 4m long, and has a five-door body. "It will have the comfort and technology today's buyers expect," said Koskas.
That'll include a colour screen with phone mirroring, two-tone paint, and driver-assist features now mandated by law such as camera-based lane-keeping, speed-limit warning and AEB.
Like the Indian C3, and all other current Citroëns, the new car has a bit of crossover in its design, with black plastic around its perimeter and fake skid plates. The bonnet is high and flat. But unlike the Indian car, its front and rear light signatures are very close to the Oli's.
Koskas says the new car will be built at parent company Stellantis's factory in Slovakia, which is "very efficient" to keep cost down. The platform was designed from the start for electric drive, as well as petrol engines in India. It too is strongly cost-optimised. Koskas wouldn't yet give many details how that's been done, but we can assume Citroen has been studying the Dacia Sandero.
I asked Koskas if the battery is the cheaper LFP type now being adopted by US Ford among others. He wouldn't say, but the Indian C3 does have an electric version with an LFP battery. It's an air-cooled pack, again cutting cost but limiting its max charging power to just 30kW, so a charge takes an hour.
Koskas has been in the head job at Citroen only since February. He told TG.com he has no intention of changing the fundamental strategy of his predecessor Vincent Cobée. Which is to make easy-to-understand cars that are 'comfortable, simple to understand, sustainable and daring' and sell them affordably.
Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter. Look out for your regular round-up of news, reviews and offers in your inbox.
Get all the latest news, reviews and exclusives, direct to your inbox.
The Oli carried this philosophy to the extreme, and Koskas isn't backing away from it. "The Oli will be followed up in real life. It will inspire future Citroëns. Heavily. You will find all the features that are on the concept – the seats, the wheels, the fixed bonnet, recycled materials, a right-sized battery. But you need to be patient."