“The most remarkable thing about it is how unremarkable it is” is fast becoming an
unofficial slogan for the forthcoming C-Zero car from Citroën.
On the international launch of the C-Zero, one of the nine electric cars to be approved for the £5,000 Government grant, Citroën executives repeated the phrase to sum up how easy the car and its core technology should be for consumers who will grow accustomed to a full electric travel-solution based around fast recharge and ‘generous’ range in an urban environment.
The selling points for supplying dealers – likely to be in London, Birmingham and Manchester - will be its zero fuel consumption, low CO2 emissions and noise levels. Citroën has not decided yet if the C-Zero will be available only through its own retail group.
The 230kg lithium-ion battery, housed in the floor pan between the front and rear wheels, provides a range between full charges of about 90 miles and over its lifetime can be charged 1,500 times.
It can be charged using a standard electrical supply at home or in recharging points in the street or workplace. A full charge takes seven hours. A fast charge function is available using a 400v supply, envisaged to be at non-domestic charging stations, offering an 80% capacity in 30 minutes.
From a driving perspective, key factors are the impressive torque from the 64hp engine at 180Nm from start up and the levels of equipment as standard: power steering, ABS, ESP, electric windows, six airbags and air conditioning, plus the eTouch service package offering emergency and assistance calls and Bluetooth.
To drive, simply turn the key, wait for a beep and a green ‘ready’ displayed on the instrument panel. The gear lever then goes into the forward position, like that in an auto, to begin travel.
Battery use is displayed as either dark blue to show it is charging, green indicating an economic driving style and white showing you’re consuming energy.
Citroën says sales targets are conservative at “volumes in the low hundreds” in the first year with the police, utility companies and local authorities the primary target customers.
It is also almost certain the C-Zero will only be available to lease for £415 per month, excluding VAT, on a four year/40,000 mile contract.