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Citroen and Renault electric cars

New electric vehicles from French manufacturers

Citroen C-Zero

Citroen’s C-Zero is a rebadged Mitsubishi i-MiEV

Citroen and Renault both have significant new electric car announcements.

Citroen C-Zero

Citroen has announced it will sell a ‘100% electric’ city car by the end of 2010.

Called the C-Zero, Citroen can be confident of achieving this feat. Like partner Peugeot’s forthcoming iOn, the Citroen C-Zero is a rebadged Mitsubishi i-MiEV, the all-electric version of Mitsubishi’s unusual four-seater, rear-engined city car.

The C-Zero (and its international cousins) are powered by a 63bhp electric motor.

This delivers a sizable 132lb ft of torque (pulling power) from the moment the accelerator is depressed, making it very responsive. And with an automatic transmission, it’s well suited to city driving.

A lithium ion battery provides the electricity to power the engine. The battery takes six hours to recharge using a 220-volt power socket, although an 80% charge is possible in just 30 minutes using a special external charging station (125A at 400V).

Renault Twizy

Renault’s Twizy will be toned down by the time production starts in 2011

Instead of a fuel gauge there’s a battery indicator, but in other respects the C-Zero is much like any other automatic Citroen to drive.

The electric Citroen has four seats and 166 litres of boot space. Acceleration is adequate, with 0-62mph taking 15 seconds, and the C-Zero is capable of a top speed of 80mph. Its range over a combined cycle is likely to be around 80 miles.

There’s no word from Citroen on pricing yet – but expect to pay much more than you would for a conventional Citroen C1.

Renault confirms electric car production

In other French electric car news, Renault has made several electric vehicle announcements this week.

Renault Kangoo ZE

Electric version of existing Renault Kangoo model

First it confirmed production of the Twizy ZE (Zero Emissions), a city car shown in concept form at the Frankfurt motor show in September. This will be built in Renault’s Valladolid plant in Spain and will go on sale in 2011.

An all-electric ZE supermini, influenced by the Zoe ZE concept also at Frankfurt, will be produced at the Flins plant just outside Paris. This will be ready for sale in 2012. Flins will also be the one of the sites for electric battery production for the Renault-Nissan Alliance.

Finally, an all-electric version of the van is scheduled to begin production in the first half of 2011 at Maubeuge Construction Automobile in Northern France.


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