So it’s Peugeot that has overwhelmed everybody to the punch by launching its best-selling supermini with an electrical variant, hedging its bets by lauching it alongside standard petrol and diesel engines.
EV evangelists may say the French model ought to have dedicated to a mainstream automobile with none inside combustion engine, however let’s get actual. Plug-ins account for round 2.5% of European new automobile and van registrations, even taking into consideration the growth in recognition in Scandinavian international locations.
Even with additional looming emission regulation, most mainstream automobile makers predict it can nonetheless be numerous years earlier than EVs make up a major proportion of their gross sales, and producers make a return on their tech expenditure.
Phrase on the grapevine is that Nissan, anticipating a a lot larger EV uptake in Europe by now, had initially designed the most recent Micra to be EV-only, and backtracked a way into the automobile’s growth. So Peugeot’s three-pronged powertrain alternative for the 208 appears a sensible transfer.
What’s most intelligent, although, is that the electrical motor suits precisely the place the combustion engine would sit, so the battery-powered 208 doesn’t want a bespoke bodyshell or platform, just some structural stengthening helps within the subframe to make sure the 350kg motor and battery pack does not adversely have an effect on rigidity.
The battery pack is an uncommon form, filling house below the ground and the place the gas tank was once, as this picture under exhibits.
Not solely does that mitigate any compromises (the petrol, diesel and electrical variants look equivalent, really feel largely equivalent inside and provide the identical quantity of house), but it surely additionally simplifies the manufacturing course of.
Peugeot will ship the EV down the identical manufacturing line because the petrol and diesel variations – one thing no maker has achieved on a mass scale earlier than. It’s arrange a mock ‘pilot’ manufacturing line at PSA’s technical centre, simply outdoors Paris, the place the agency’s finest and brightest engineers and assemblers will iron out any potential teething issues earlier than the true manufacturing unit opens its doorways in Slovakia.
With electrical variants anticipated to make up a single-digit proportion of 208 gross sales (initially, not less than), that is probably the most cost-efficient approach of becoming a member of the EV race.
However will that make it a very low cost electrical automobile? Do not depend on it. Pricing particulars are below wraps, however from conversations I’ve had with the product crew we might count on even the entry-level 208 EV to nonetheless be considerably pricier than a petroleum or diesel one. Progress takes time…
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