Currently reading: New Citroen e-C3 brings 199-mile range for £22,000
All-electric supermini arrives in UK next year; cheaper 124-mile EV and petrol powertrains to follow

The next-generation Citroën C3 will arrive early next year as a spiritual successor to the 2CV, having been developed to bring electric motoring to the masses.

The all-new ë-C3 will cost just €23,300 (£20,100) at launch, comfortably undercutting all but the cheapest Chinese alternatives on the continent.

Autocar understands UK pricing will start between £22,000 and £23,000 – significantly less than the £25,490 BYD Dolphin, the cheapest EV currently available in the market.

An even cheaper version with a smaller battery will join the line-up in 2025, priced at €19,990 (£17,250), although Citroën has yet to confirm whether this will be offered in the UK.

Citroën insiders told Autocar they believe it to be the most affordable “proper” electric car on the market, noting that it’s a full-size five-seater, unlike the rival Dacia Spring Electric.

Citroen e-c3 2024 side static

Key to achieving such keen pricing was the use of the cost-effective Smart Car platform, which was originally reserved for the separate ‘CC21’ C3 sold in India and Latin America.

Although the new Europe-bound C3 was conceived as an EV, this platform can support a combustion powertrain if there is sufficient demand (as was the case in the UK with the C4 X), and Citroën has left enough room beneath the bonnet for a petrol engine. A Citroën UK spokesperson confirmed to Autocar that the combustion C3 will target a starting price below £15,000, making it a rival to the Dacia Sandero.

The Smart Car platform was adapted to satisfy European regulations, gaining a stronger crash structure (the CC21 C3 infamously scored zero stars in Latin NCAP safety testing), and was given a host of tweaks to improve refinement, while the battery compartment under the rear seat bench was changed from a T-shape to a square to improve capacity.

The supermini will arrive with a 44kWh lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) battery pack, giving it a range of 199 miles. The €19,990 variant will offer a range of 124 miles.

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The LFP chemistry brings several advantages: it is cheaper to produce, lasts longer and completely omits cobalt. However, LFP cells are not as energy-dense as nickel manganese cobalt, meaning LFP battery packs of equivalent capacity weigh more. Additionally, LFP batteries are typically more sensitive to external temperatures, with significantly reduced charge rates in cold conditions.

Citroen e-c3 2024 rear quarter static

Citroën is confident that the relatively small range of the new C3 will be plenty, as project manager Guillaume Noël explained: “In the B-segment, we want to keep it simple. We know that, on average, most of our customers do less than 80km [50 miles] per day, and I’m sure that, even in cold weather, we will be able to meet that requirement.” In the name of affordability, no heat pump will be fitted.

To ensure the ë-C3 remains usable on longer journeys, it is capable of rapid charging at rates of up to 100kW, enabling a 20-80% charge in 26 minutes.

Ride comfort was a priority for the ë-C3 (another spiritual link to the 2CV), so it features Citroën’s Advanced Comfort hydraulic bump stops.

Straight-line performance is comparable to that of the current petrol C3. A single motor pushes 111bhp through the front wheels, allowing the ë-C3 to dispatch the 0-62mph sprint in around 11.0sec. Its top speed is 84mph.

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Citroen e-c3 2024 rear static

The ë-C3 isn’t significantly longer or wider than today’s C3, but it is 100mm taller, boosting head room and bringing a more commanding driving position. Passenger space is significantly improved in other ways, too: Citroën claims the most generous rear knee room in the class.

Brand CEO Thierry Koskas confirmed that, although the two cars are now similar in proportion, the ë-C3 does not replace the Citroën C3 Aircross. Instead, the C3 Aircross will grow into a seven-seat electric SUV, also based on the Smart Car platform.

Inside the ë-C3, the goal was to provide a “zen feeling”, according to design lead Boris Reinmöller. “We just wanted it to be as simple as possible in terms of design,” he said.

There is a head-up display as standard, and the two higher trim levels feature a 10.25in infotainment touchscreen as standard, but the entry-level You variant replaces the latter with a Volkswagen Up-style smartphone dock.

Citroen e-c3 2024 dashboard

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A dedicated smartphone app will be created to give drivers access to music, radio, calls and sat-nav via their phone (although the touchscreen can be added as an optional extra). Every other core control is handled by a physical switch or button.

The brief for the exterior was to move away from the soft curves of the current C3, explained Reinmöller: “The earlier Citroëns were quite playful, almost to our liking a bit too playful, so we wanted to become a little bit more mature in its treatment.

“In its section treatments, [we wanted] to bring out the muscles as well, although we stayed a bit soft and gentle – it’s not a Peugeot! It’s still a friendly feel in terms of surfacing, but it’s more defined.”

Citroen e-c3 2024 front close-up

Nonetheless, the new ë-C3 does retain an element of fun in its design. There are two ‘colour clip’ inserts on each side of the car which allow the addition of swappable, colour-contrasting accents.

Three hues will be available at launch – orange, neon-green and white – but Citroën confirmed plans to expand the selection of colours, adding that graphics such as national flags may eventually become available.

The importance of the ë-C3 to Citroën’s future can’t be understated: the C3 currently takes 40% of the brand’s passenger car sales, according to the firm.

Charlie Martin

Charlie Martin Autocar
Title: Editorial Assistant, Autocar

As a reporter, Charlie plays a key role in setting the news agenda for the automotive industry. He joined Autocar in July 2022 after a nine-month stint as an apprentice with sister publication, What Car?. He's previously contributed to The Intercooler, and placed second in Hagerty’s 2019 Young Writer competition with a feature on the MG Metro 6R4

He is the proud owner of a Fiat Panda 100HP, and hopes to one day add a lightweight sports car like an Alpine A110 or a Lotus Elise S1 to his collection.

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Cadders 18 October 2023

The spiritual successor to the 2cv rhetoric is bollocks - and I'm not a huge fan of the slightly dumpy styling - but kudos to Citroen for hitting a more accessible price point than most of the competition. We need more heat at this end of the market to really drive accessibility.... 

rickerby 7 November 2023

Just becuase its not exactly the mase as a 2CV doesnt mean it cant be a spiritual successor. The 2CV motorised the masses when car ownership was the preserve of the well to do. We are in exactly the same place now with EVs - and at a price close 20 £20K the eC3 is clearly providing that service now. 

Bob Cholmondeley 17 October 2023

How can this fat, high-riding, crossover style hatchback, be in any sense "a spiritual successor to the 2CV"?

A34 17 October 2023
Bob Cholmondeley wrote:

How can this fat, high-riding, crossover style hatchback, be in any sense "a spiritual successor to the 2CV"?

Well the 2CV was a slight, high riding, pseudo-hatch. If you were expecting retro, check out the Pembleton! That even uses a 2CV transaxle and gearbox! 

TStag 17 October 2023

Personally I think this class of electric car is getting close to being competitive with ICE cars if you use them in a certain way. If my family bought one we'd use it for lots of short trips around town, so a lower range vehicle might be OK. We'd use an ICE for long haul.

My plan is to put Solar panels and a battery on my house then wait for the electric car to become slightly cheaper.