The e-208’s CMP (Compact Modular Platform) underpinnings have been carefully conceived to accommodate an electric motor and substantial battery pack without significant re-engineering.
The car’s lithium ion battery pack is housed beneath the floor in what is effectively an ‘H’ pattern, the 18 cells located widthways under the front and rear seats and offering a total gross storage capacity of 50kWh. At 217 miles on the WLTP test cycle, the e-208’s range is at the upper end among cars of its type and should serve as a strong selling point.
Overall, the battery pack adds an extra 300kg to the 208 compared with a typical piston-engined model for an all-in weight of 1455kg, but efforts have been made to locate the extra mass as low as possible and to keep it within the wheelbase.
In line with the original design philosophy, mechanical modifications are limited, with the biggest change being the adoption of a 12mm-wider rear axle to accommodate the rear cells. As on the standard car, this is a fairly simple torsion beam and coil-sprung affair, while at the front, there are MacPherson struts.
Driving the Peugeot’s front wheels is a 134bhp permanent-magnet synchronous electric motor, making this the most powerful of all 208s for now, with a very healthy 192lb ft of torque available from zero revs.
The car’s single-speed transmission features both standard Drive and Brake modes, the latter instantly reversing the polarity of the motor for a powerful regenerative braking effect when you lift off the accelerator. A further neat touch is the addition of a heat pump for the air conditioning and heating system, which helps reduce energy use by up to one-third over a traditional resistive set-up.
In a further effort to minimise potential buyers’ shock at making the jump from internal combustion, designers have made sure the e-208 looks almost identical to the standard car. The most obvious differences are the gloss black wheel-arch extensions that are required to cover the wider track; e-208 badges set into the C-pillars and on the front grille; and a dichromic lion logo that changes colour depending on the light falling on it.
Overall, it’s a handsome and well-proportioned machine – arguably the French firm’s best small car effort for years.