You won’t have heard of the Citroen C1 Evie. In fact I hadn’t either until the invite to its launch dropped through our postbox recently. It turns out that a British-based company named the Electric Car Corporation has created a pure-electric Citroen C1 with a range of up to 60 miles and a top speed of 60mph, and the order books are open now.
Sounds good, I thought, but what’s the catch? Surely this can’t come out of nowhere and be as good as the press fluff made it sound. After all, I spent a good few minutes staring open-mouthed at the electric cars at the London motor show last year. Not a single one of them resembled a normal, let alone desirable, method of transport.
Sure, there were some clever ideas, but they were clever in the same way that Vivienne Westwood’s catwalk creations are clever. I’m still not going to wear them down the street.
In fact, my pessimistic initial reaction was totally wrong. It really is just an electric Citroen C1.
The steering wheel is where you would want it to be, there are four seats, four doors, a boot and a plug where the fuel nozzle would be. The right pedal makes it go, the other one makes it stop. You have to look under the bonnet to find an electric motor and some of the latest lithium-ion batteries (imported from China), and there are more of the same where the fuel tank is.
You turn the key, push the pedal and the car drives. Silently, and effortlessly.
Okay, so it’s expensive at an estimated £16k, but it’s priced competitively in the market. More than anything else, I can’t help but look at the Citroen C1 Evie and ask why it hasn’t been done before. If you’ve just bought a G-Wiz, I imagine that seeing the Citroen C1 Evie is going to be like discovering that you’ve just spent five figures on a car with square tyres when you could have had round ones.
So it seems that the electric city car was nowhere near as complicated to make as we all thought. Even better, it’s a British company run by a British entrepeneur (David Martell – also responsible for Trafficmaster) and a few dedicated staff that has proved it. Chalk one up to Blighty.