From £7,365
The first genuinely practical four-seat electric city car

Our Verdict

Citroën C1
There's much to like about the C1, but it is too expensive against talented rivals

The Citroën C1 is the cheapest of the C1-107-Aygo triplets. The city car is cute, but noisy and basic

What is it?

Much more than it first appears. This is the Citroen C1 Evie, a pure electric car that has been produced by the British-based Electric Car Corporation. It runs on a 30kw electric engine powered by lithium-ion batteries that are placed where the conventional fuel tank is, and also under the bonnet along with the electric motor. This leaves the interior of the C1 Evie unchanged from a standard Citroen C1, making it the first pure-electric four-seater on sale in the UK.

Energy produced from friction under braking is also stored and used to aid the 60-mile range.

What’s it like?

Simple and effective. The Citroen C1 Evie is almost totally ordinary to drive and better for it. The only disconcerting aspect comes from the automatic braking - the C1 Evie is set up to apply light braking as soon as you take your foot off the accelerator in order to generate the most electricity possible from the regenerative energy system. The sudden loss of speed you get when the car isn’t under load takes some getting used to, but it’s not difficult to incorporate it into normal driving and is said to improve range by up to 15 per cent.

The rest of the driving experience is more familiar. Power is sent through a standard Citroen C1 five-speed manual ’box, which is modified to remain in third gear. But the large amounts of torque available from the electric motor mean that there is no problem with only having one gear ratio – in practice it’s no different to driving a standard automatic.

The extra weight the C1 gets from its 25 batteries is noticeable given the C1 Evie’s low power output, but the 0-30mph time is sprightly enough for urban driving, and that is really all the C1 Evie sets out to do.

If you do venture outside the city, then the top speed of 60mph could be a frustrating limitation, but that’s a compromise that most buyers accept when they opt for Watts over horses. Otherwise the difficulties involved in running a Citroen C1 Evie are few. A 60-mile range is plenty for most inner-city drives, a simple plug-and-go recharge system makes re-fuelling easy (a three-point mains plug socket is all you need, though you’ll still have to wait up to six hours), and safety is better than any competitor. The Evie is as easy to drive and use as the petrol-powered equivalent.

Should I buy one?

Given that your only other options are the extraordinarily undesirable and impractical G-Wiz, or the barely more acceptable NICE Mega City, the Citroen C1 Evie is a no-brainer.

The electric-car compromise is still there; the Evie is much more expensive to buy and lacks the performance and range of a petrol-powered city car, but the market for low-range all-electric city cars is a well-known and growing entity. The Electric Car Company has just made it an infinitely more palatable segment to shop in.

Looking for a used Citroen C1 for sale? Visit Pistonheads Classifieds.

Join the debate

Comments
12

30 April 2009

Modifying the citroen gearbox to stay in 3rd gear must have been pretty simple. Wasn't it just a case of sticking it in third and taking the gear lever out? Not sure what using just one gear will do for the box's longevity though. I'm sure it wasn't designed to be used like this, especially with the torque the motor will send through it from rest.

30 April 2009

They could have saved some weight by dumping the gearbox and using a purpose-made reduction gear.

Wonder if the springs have been uprated to cope with the extra weight ? As a city car it needs to be able to cope with speed humps.

Surely electric car buyers would do better to wait for the Mitsubishi to go on sale.

30 April 2009

£16850 does seem rather a large step up in price - are the company hoping to claim the £5k from the government in 2011 as I cant see this as a viable option otherwise.

30 April 2009

[quote noluddite]Wasn't it just a case of sticking it in third and taking the gear lever out?[/quote]

It looks as if the gear lever is still there and it looks as if its simply been stuck in third. GBP16K is a lot though and it looks like a shocking conversion, the unleaded only sticker is still behind the filler flap, for 16 grand i'd expect someone to at least make an effort with the finer details. I dont know what the gear linkage is like on a c1 but i bet they just disconnected it once it was in gear. sorry but i'm not sold on this car, i have my doubts about long term quality of the conversion.

30 April 2009

Brilliant solution. Mitsubishi I will be 20k + so this is very good value.

30 April 2009

its only good value for the celebrities moving on from the prius to this.

to normal car buyers its a laughable price, i think the new electric car discount ranges from £1k to £5k depending on the list price. but even with full £5k discount an £11.8K c1 against an £7.8k c1 is in no possible way good value as a form of transport. even if the electric power was FREE to recharge the car it still probably wouldn't pay for itself in the lifetime of the customers ownership compared to the petrol c1.

i would like to say though i am a supporter of electric power and hope it does well, and i would have one for myself when it becomes cheaper than a petrol equivalent and as practical and as powerful.

30 April 2009

Price is actually quite reasonable if you work some parts of Central London. Parking around my area is £4 / hour (which equates to £8/hour inc taxes if the car is not used directly for work purposes). Add congestion charge and the parking tickets every now for going over time and you get close to £70 / day (£18k / year @ 5 days a week just for parking!) Alternatives are using NCP for a season ticket £8030 / year, ride a bike or public transport (no thanks. I like the convenience of being able to drive to work and parking right outside - the 'green' or 'not green' question is actually quite irrelevant to me in this context). It's quite a no-brainer if you work in W1 and can cough up the costs upfront. Pretty useless things otherwise - I am looking forward to driving a manufacturer electric car once again (Mitsubishi iMiev coming soon) - I've had a Peugeot electric [really quite good] and currently have G-wizes [horrible things]) and drive a GT3 at weekends to get rid of the frustration of driving a golf buggy during the week.

30 April 2009

Brilliant, if a little pricey - but they will sell out. Can someone tell me though (genuine question if anyone knows) what happens to power steering? Does an electric motor assist?

30 April 2009

[quote icecreamwala]

[quote noluddite]Wasn't it just a case of sticking it in third and taking the gear lever out?[/quote]

It looks as if the gear lever is still there and it looks as if its simply been stuck in third.

[/quote]

Sorry to burst your bubble here, but what about reverse? I would imagine there will have been a blanking plate or a modified gear linkage used to isolate the other gears.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

30 April 2009

TegtypeR oh yeah. Good point. Could the motor be made to turn the other way? That'd be fun just as fast backwards. I'm doing this on my phone bloody touch screen.

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • 2016 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron UK review
    First Drive
    29 September 2016
    First UK drive finds the facelifted A3 Sportback e-tron remains a first-rate plug-in hybrid that is packed with tech if a little short on driver appeal
  • Citroen C11.2 Puretech 82 Furio
    First Drive
    29 September 2016
    Citroën's city car gets a new sporty-looking trim level, adding visual adornments, but no premium for the 1.2-litre Puretech triple we're driving
  • Mercedes C350e Sport
    First Drive
    28 September 2016
    Petrol-electric C-Class is a surprisingly well-priced alternative to a diesel but not the greatest example of the new ‘PHEV’ breed
  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka