Peugeot will introduce a new-generation version of its 208 city car and 2008 small SUV in 2019, with fully electric versions of both certain to be offered as part of the range… in Europe, at least.
Peugeot future product specialist Laurent Blanchard spoke with CarsGuide at the 2018 Paris motor show, where he confirmed that the new B-segment 208 hatchback model will come with a pure electric model, as will the new-generation 2008.
"It will be full electric for the B-segment hatch and B-segment SUV," he said, referring to the 208 hatch and the 2008 small SUV, before suggesting that plug-in hybrid (PHEV) technology is more likely to be reserved for the larger 308 and 508 (and 3008/5008) models.
"This is our first step towards full electrification. We think for small cars, electrification is well adapted because these cars are city cars mostly, and our customers agree to buy an electric smaller car because they don't need to go very far, so it's interesting to have an electric solution.
"For larger cars, people want to have the autonomy to go and do 400 or 500km. At this stage, the full electric is quite complicated because you have to stop every few hundred kilometres to recharge the car and wait one hour or more. So it's not flexible," said Blanchard.
"A PHEV is a good solution for a car that has to go on long trips, and the BEV [Battery Electric Vehicle] is more oriented for cities, at this stage. That doesn't mean that it won't be in the future - maybe in 2025, it will be suitable for long trips.
Smaller cars are being used as a test bed for electric power, with competitors in the small SUV segment including the likes of the Hyundai Kona EV, and the city car segment including the Renault Zoe.
Obviously there are issues with that: the smaller the platform, the less batteries, and the less potential driving range. But countering that is the argument that the vehicles are smaller and therefore lighter, and the customer doesn't necessarily need as much range, either.
Further, there's the notion that smaller vehicles make it hard to absorb the cost of new technology, but with market incentives backed by governments and the promise of improved residual value as more cities ban cars with conventional powertrains, it will likely even itself out.
Blanchard said that while globally there's a trend towards slightly larger cars and SUVs, Europe remains a smaller-car-oriented place.
"The B-segment is not as big as it was before, but the European market is 70 million cars, and the B-segment is more-or-less one third of this market, and we have a very big market share.
"It's very important for us to renew our offer in these two segments, and it's very competitive.
"We have to decrease our level of CO2 emissions, and the B-segment allows for us to lower our fleet level of CO2 emissions."
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