Currently reading: Citroen boss: major electric car demand likely post-pandemic
Vincent Cobee says financial recovery packages and renewed focus on environmental dangers could be a boon for EV sales

Citroën boss Vincent Cobée believes the impact of the coronavirus pandemic could lead to a sharp rise in demand for electric cars in the near future.

Several major governments, including those in France and Germany, have unveiled substantial financial recovery packages to help boost industry following Covid-19 lockdowns. They include incentives to increase new car sales - with many tied to the purchase of electric and low-emission cars as part of efforts to cut carbon emissions.

Speaking at a launch event for the new C4, which includes a fully electric e-C4 variant, Cobée said  that low-emission vehicles – including plug-in hybrids and EVs – currently make up around 6% of the sales mix of Citroën parent firm PSA Group, but he expects that figure to rise sharply.

Asked what percentage of sales the e-C4 will account for, Cobée said: “In the C-segment, we hope the percentage for the C4 will be higher, maybe 8-10%. Because of customer sentiment, the increasing development of infrastructure and new [emissions] regulations, we think that can grow quite fast.

“The last four months have seen a transformation of society and one of the ways out [in terms of economic recovery] is the transformation of regulations, with a push towards low-carbon vehicles.

“So we are expecting that the unexpected could happen and I wouldn’t be surprised if the market share of EVs moves towards 20% very, very rapidly, especially with a car like the C4.

Citroen c4 1829

“There is demand to enter the world of clean mobility. It’s not a tree-hugger statement. It’s that I never have to go to a petrol station any more and can charge my car at home. But if you answer this only with city hatchbacks, then the ability for this to spread is limited.” 

Cobée noted that the higher purchase price of EVs is still a deterrent to potential buyers. He said: “Anyone who’s worked in the car industry in the last 10 years will know the huge challenges EVs present in terms of battery and development costs. But as citizens, we know that if an EV costs roughly the same as an internal combustion engine car, we would shift.


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Citroën C4
The Citroën C4 range comprises three diesel and three petrol engines, plus three trim levels

It's an admirable family hatchback, but there is an abundance of superior rivals that makes the C4 feel a little outclassed

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“At Citroén, we are making a statement: with AMI, we’ve shown than an EV can be affordable, and with the C4, we’re saying that it’s not true an EV can only be a city car, but a family hatch with a range of more than 200 miles.”

Although EVs remain more expensive to buy than combustion-engined cars, Cobée said: “If you consider not just purchase price but running price and residual value, it’s already extremely similar, and especially with the addition of incentives following the coronavirus crisis, the pricing of EVs is extremely competitive.”


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James Attwood

James Attwood, digital editor
Title: Acting magazine editor

James is Autocar's acting magazine editor. Having served in that role since June 2023, he is in charge of the day-to-day running of the world's oldest car magazine, and regularly interviews some of the biggest names in the industry to secure news and features, such as his world exclusive look into production of Volkswagen currywurst. Really.

Before first joining Autocar in 2017, James spent more than a decade in motorsport journalist, working on Autosport,, F1 Racing and Motorsport News, covering everything from club rallying to top-level international events. He also spent 18 months running Move Electric, Haymarket's e-mobility title, where he developed knowledge of the e-bike and e-scooter markets. 

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