Published on July 24th, 2020 |
by Zachary Shahan
July 24th, 2020 by Zachary Shahan
There’s a decent chance you didn’t know that Peugeot was working on electric cars 79 years ago, in 1941. We will not banish you from visiting CleanTechnica for not knowing that, especially since we didn’t know it.
Back in 1941, the motivation for trying to go the electric route was a bit different than it is today. Peugeot’s initial foray into EVs was “to combat the fuel shortages during the German occupation of France in the Second World War.” The vehicle used for that purpose was the Peugeot VLV, pictured below.
The VLV stood for “Véhicule Léger de Ville,” or “Light City Vehicle.”
In a new press release, Peugeot highlighted several electric vehicle concepts and low-volume consumer cars it has sold over the decades, some very cool, some … odd. I recommend having a gander, but I’m not going to focus on those old concepts and uncompetitive models. The big focus of the news is Peugeot’s new e-2008, a fully electric SUV that I consider to be quite compelling. However, details matter, so let’s look at those.
The e-2008 is not a unicorn, but Peugeot made what I assume were some tough decisions in order to create a vehicle that could appeal to many buyers. It uses a relatively small (these days) 50 kWh battery in order to keep costs down — whether they are kept down enough to be competitive is a matter I’ll get to in a moment. It still has more than 200 miles of range — but just barely, at 206 miles (WLTP). Not long ago, 200 miles was considered a huge accomplishment for an EV, but these days it is not close to market leading, but using a 50 kWh battery instead of a 70 kWh or bigger battery surely saved several thousand dollars that many buyers will appreciate.
The e-2008 also has a 100 kW motor, which should provide plenty of power, especially with its instant torque. And it includes the company’s “next-generation i-Cockpit 3D® with hologram technology to improve reaction times.”
Using a 100 kW charging station, the e-2008 can add 80% of its range in 30 minutes (assuming going from about 0% to 80% — recall that charging speed tapers off increasingly as you get closer to 100%). Needs and desires vary, but I think 206 miles and 100 kW charging provide good enough base specs if the price is right. So, what is the price?
In the UK, the lowest trim I’m seeing can be had at a starting price of £32,065 ($41,015). That’s considerably more than the petrol or diesel versions if you’re not 100% electric focused, which start at £20,590 ($26,337) and £22,190 ($28,384), respectively. £10,000 may be saved in time from the lower operational and maintenance costs of an EV and from a potentially stronger resale value, but that’s a big difference for someone who isn’t already sold on EVs.
If you’re set on an EV, then you may just prefer strolling over to a Tesla store or website and scoping out the Model Y. I thought the e-2008 might have a size advantage on the Model Y and was going to highlight that as one reason to still chose an e-2008 instead, but it turns out the opposite is true. The Peugeot e-2008 has 51.8 cu ft max cargo space whereas the Model Y has 66 cu ft max cargo space. If you want a 7 seater, the Model Y should have that option in time, while the e-2008 does not.
The base Model Y also has 314 miles (WLTP est.) of range versus the e-2008’s 206 miles. What about price? The Model Y doesn’t have a price in the UK yet, but the Model 3 Long Range starts at £40,490 ($51,793), so expect the Model Y to cost a few thousand more than that. That’s where the e-2008 still wins. We won’t even talk about infotainment, performance, or driver-assist technologies. We know about Tesla’s features and reputation there. However, one final note to keep in mind is that the Model Y is probably still quite far from delivery in the UK.
If there’s demand for it, we could perhaps do a deep dive into comparisons with other electric vehicles in or near the e-2008’s class. We could also run some total cost of ownership scenarios/estimates against the petrol and diesel versions. I’m not confident the specs and price are quite competitive enough for the vehicle to become a top seller in the UK, but I hope it will. It surely beats the fossil fuel versions in regards to drive quality, operational costs, access to London, and of course the pollution front. Compared to other electric vehicles, it has a unique design that many may find appealing and is tucked into a certain market segment that is quite popular and might be differentiated just enough from the Model Y and others for the e-2008 to hold down its own little mountain of sales.
As I recently explained, there are very strong incentives for company cars in the UK, and that could make the vehicle look much more appealing to those who get their cars via business leases.
The biggest problem I see with the e-2008 is that it was built off of a gasoline/diesel model and thus doesn’t take advantage of the benefits possible with an SUV designed electric from the ground up. It clearly takes an efficiency hit as a result of this, which requires more batteries (and thus more money) for the same range. Or, put another way, it could have had a lot more range and performance for the same price. Nonetheless, it is quite pretty for a conventional car design and Peugeot managed to squeak out 206 miles of range on a full charge — enough for the vast majority of days.
While I’m personally not that into traditional auto design now that I’m a convert of Tesla minimalism, I know that many consumers do prefer the more conventional design languages — and since that’s a very subjective matter, I am not at all a purist about it. The e-2008 has a more traditional design, and in that context, I think it’s an attractive animal. Even with a giant grille (which I typically do not like) and rather busy design, I find it quite attractive. But feel free to have your own opinion and voice it loudly if you feel compelled to do so.
You can learn more about the e-2008 on Peugeot’s website.
All images courtesy Peugeot.