Text and images © ecodrive 2012 unless otherwise stated. No reproduction without express permission.
Citroën has a new EV after a 7-year hiatus. Called C-Zero to indicate Zero emission and fit with their existing numbering system it is virtually identical to Peugeot iOn. The two sister companies have long shared designs on small cars: the Peugeot 106 was (generally) the upmarket version of the Citroën Saxo. Currently the Peugeot 107, Citroën C1 and Toyota Aygo are all essentially the same car and roll off the same production line. Peugeot and Citroën have followed the same logic to bring a new EV to market.
Peugeot-Citroën's pre-existing relationship with
Mitsubishi to buy-in low volume models (they also
rebadge their Outlander 4x4 model as Citroën C-Crosser)
meant it was an obvious choice as a partner to
reintroduce EVs to the market using the well-developed
i-MiEV as the basis.
The French giant has quite a history with EVs: their
Berlingo électrique was the first serious commercial
electric vehicle getting into fleets in the UK in the
90s. They also produced an electric version of the
Saxo, which never made it to these shores since it would
have competed with the Peugeot 106 Electric.
In terms of specification, the Peugeot and Citroën
products are identical
so C-Zero is definitely not the poor-man's iOn.
So what are the differences between C-Zero and
i-MiEV? The most significant addition on the
C-Zero is Citroën Connect, fitted to all of the other
cars in their portfolio now, allowing you to summon
roadside assistance or the emergency services at the
touch of a button - or automatically in the case of an
accident. A built-in SIM card, mobile phone
technology and a GPS allow emergency calls to be tracked
and the vehicle location pinpointed. On C-Zero the
service extends cover to running out of juice - a
comforting safety blanket, especially for a novice EV
The cooler, funkier cousin?
The C-Zero is available to retail at £21,216 inc VAT and Plug-In Car
Grant, or is especially good value on Contract Hire at just £144+VAT per month on a
3-year, 30,000 mile contract. When factoring in the
potential to save over £100 per month on fuel charges,
nil road tax, exemption from Congestion Charge (in
London, with a £10 annual admin fee) and, as a business,
0% Benefit-In-Kind (Company Car tax) for an employee
& nil National Insurance contributions for the
employer, you can quickly see how affordable the
C-Zero really can be, especially for businesses who can
write down the costs against tax.
In common with the Peugeot iOn and Mitsubishi i-MiEV,
the Citroën C-Zero is a nimble, agile EV with generous
interior space for 4 adults considering its small
footprint on the road. Fantastic steering lock
make it incredibly maneouverable. Whilst its Peugeot
stablemate is more staid and serious, the Citroën looks
more fun, especially in a bold solid colour such as the
red or yellow. Avoid the pearlescent black since
it will require greater ventilation or air-conditioning
We're not so keen on the one choice of brown trim to
the dash and seat cloth, whatever the exterior colour,
which is a shame but it is lighter than the sombre interior
The only option of the Cold Pack (heated drivers seat
and heated mirrors) at just £155 (inc VAT) should always
be specified: the heated seat can take the chill off and
avoid use of the energy-hungry main heating, preserving
Citroën C-Zero is £21,216 On The Road (including the Plug-In Car Grant) or £144+VAT per month on a 36-month (3+35) 10,000 miles per annum Contract Hire.