Citroen C1 EV iE

donderdag, 20 januari 2022

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Engeland heeft de primeur van een elektrische auto onder de 20.000 euro. Het gaat om de Citroen C1 Ev'ie. Dit is een omgebouwde C1 die in Engeland rond de 18.000 euro kost. Het bedrijf dat deze auto aanbiedt, the Electric Car Company, zit in London. Die stad heeft grote ambities met elektrisch vervoer. Belangrijke stimulans daarvoor zijn natuurlijk de komende Olympische spelen. De topsnelheid van de auto ligt rond de 100 km/uur en de actieradius op 135 km. Wat ik graag zou willen weten is hoe het kan dat deze auto voor 10.000 euro omgebouwd kan worden naar een elektrische variant terwijl Nederlandse ombouwers over het algemeen nog op bedragen rond de 60.000 euro zitten.


Foto's / afbeeldingen



De wagen is een omgebouwde variant van de benzine uitvoering van de Citroen C1. De benzine motor is vervangen door een 30 kW elektrische motor. De benzine tank is vervangen door 25 Lithium-ion accu’s met een totale capaciteit van 16 kWh. De accu’s zijn gesplitst in een gedeelte voor in de auto (waar de benzine motor zat) en het gedeelte waar de benzine tank zat. De bagage ruimte is dus nog steeds even groot. Het volledig opladen van de accu’s via een normaal stopcontact duurt 6 tot 7 uur.


De wagen heeft een energie verbruik van 145 Wh/km. Dit is vrij hoog als je dit vergelijkt met andere elektrische auto’s. Dat zie je vaker bij auto die niet van de grond-af ontworpen zijn om elektrisch te rijden, de zogenaamde conversie modellen. Echter in vergelijk met een benzine auto is het nog steeds veel voordeliger. De prijs per km is 0,145 kWh x 23 euro cent = 3,34 euro cent. Het volgooien van de “tank” kost 16 kWh x 0,23 euro = 3,68 euro. Met volle accu’s kun je 110 km ver rijden. Met elektrisch rijden kun je dus veel geld besparen op jaarbasis.


Een eerste testrit door een enthousiaste elektrische wagen liefhebber in London is niet goed afgelopen. Tijdens de rit zaten er drie mensen in de wagen en het leek erop dat de motor warmgelopen is tijdens deze testrit. Het gevolg was dat de wagen uiteindelijk nog maar amper vooruit kwam. Dit zijn geen goede voortekenen. Onderaan deze pagina kunt u de samenvatting in het Engels lezen van deze testrit.


Type Conversie van bestaande benzine uitvoering
  • Verbruik: 145 Wh/km
  • Bereik: 110 km
  • Vermogen: 30 kW
  • Accu capaciteit: 16 kWh
  • Accu type: 25x Lithium-ion
  • Accu levensduur: 3000 laad-cycli (~7 jaar)
  • Oplaadtijd accu’s 100% (230V 13A): 6,5 uur
  • Top: 96 km/h
  • Productie jaar: 2009
  • Beschikbaar in: UK
  • Prijs: £16,850

Ev'ie. Another broken dream?

If you're a regular visitor, you'll know that I've ran stories on the Electric Car Corporation and their line of converted Citroen C1s, which they call the C1 "Ev'ie". It all started back in April, when the Citroen Ev'ie jumped onto the market. The team behind the advertising campaign had used a sign-written petrol-powered car for photo shoots and had omitted to change the number plate. It lead to me speculating if the vehicle even existed. Later on, a test-drive from What Car? appeared, in which the team reviewing it had some issues with acceleration and a battery overheating on the drive. You can watch the video at their website. I'm not the sort of person to give a company a hard time unnecessarily, and felt that perhaps my initial story was a bit hard on ECCPlc, the makers of the Citroen C1 Ev'ie. So, I arranged a trip down to London to test the Ev'ie for myself.

The battery pack, a full 16kWh of Thundersky Lithium Ion batteries, is split between the front of the car and the area in the back where the fuel tank would be. It's a clever arrangement and means that there's no compromising on the car's luggage space. While the C1 isn't a big car, that does mean that the Ev'ie has the same 139 litre boot space as it's internal combustion cousin. Manufacturing of the Ev'ie is still quite small scale. While the ECC have Citroen's blessing, they buy the car directly from Citroen UK as a fully manufactured petrol car (the model we tested was based on the Citroen C1 VTR) and then rip out the Internal Combustion Engine, replacing it with the electric drivetrain and batteries. It's a process which is rather labor intensive and did surprise us a little. Obviously, it's easier for Citroen to supply fully working cars rather than gliders as they don't have to change any elements of the production line and can also make sure the usual quality control measures can be put into place before the vehicles leave the factory. However, in the past some electric car conversion companies have worked alongside manufacturers to provide a line of 'gliders' at a discounted price to the conversion company. These gliders were without all of the accoutrement of a combustion engined vehicle, meaning empty engine bays, no petrol tanks or radiator systems to remove and no wastage. It also meant that the conversion company didn't waste energy, time and money removing brand new engines from their donor vehicles.

Stranger still, the C1 is based on a vehicle platform jointly developed between Toyota, Citroen and Peugeot, so there is some question as to why the ECC have chosen the C1 as the platform rather than the Toyota Aygo or Peugeot 107 when the vehicle is, trim aside, the same. But then, given Toyota's current stance toward electric vehicles perhaps it's not surprising the ECC chose to link with Citroen. Obviously, the guys at the ECC have got the whole engine removal thing down to a fine art. It probably doesn't take more than a few hours to remove all traces of the Toyota-engineered petrol heritage of the C1 Ev'ie before the process of electrification begins. But in the dark times of a rescission every penny counts. And time is money. Back to the test-drive.

Internally, the Ev'ie looks very much like the regular Citroen C1. As with any C1, the trim doesn't feel of a particularly high quality but is perfectly in line with any other car of it's class. In fact, trim is streets ahead of some of the C1's rivals, such as the VW Fox and VW Polo. Think of the trim level a the Smart Car and you get the idea; Stylish and functional, well finished and is pleasing to the eye. Standard new car features such as electric windows are present too, as are all the features offered on a regular C1. Unlike the G-Wiz, the Ev'ie feels like a real car. It's the clean lines and little finishing touches inside which remind you that no compromise has been made in the comfort of the passengers and this is a car powered by electricity, not a quadricycle. Rather than get all the camera gear out, we decided to test-drive the Ev'ie first, to get an idea of how the car performed and to concentrate on the experience of driving this new kid on the block. On pulling out from the parking spot things started to rapidly go south. The little C1 Ev'ie's battery meter told me quite confidently that I had close to 100% full charge. Great. Lots of power and the promise of up to 65 miles of range. Not quite.

The gear box, which is the original Citroen one that came with the car, is locked on the Ev'ie into a single gear ratio, negating the need for the horribly touchy and high-bite point clutch the petrol C1 has. To be frank I was initially very glad that the ECC team have decided to do away with the clutch and lock the gear ration down - but as I soon discovered, this particular Ev'ie was struggling to put power down to the road. Almost instantly I became aware of a very sluggish start. The Ev'ie did not respond immediately to the demands of my right foot and climbing out of the inclined parking garage entrance I found that the Ev'ie required me to plant the accelerator flat to the floor to make any progress at all. Even then, we struggled to climb the incline at anything above 10 mph. Granted, there were three people on board but the Ev'ie is classed as four-seat car. That means, in my limited understanding, that it should be able to carry at least three people, since three is one less than four. Richard Turnbull, our ECC accompanist on the trip, mentioned that the slope was rather steep, but having seen Gwizes and MEGA city NiceCars climb up the slope I wasn't particularly impressed. Merging with the traffic at the top of the ramp onto a (thankfully) clear Park Lane enabled me to accelerate up to a moderate 25 mph before hitting the Marble Arch junction. Negotiating buses and taxis the Ev'ie still seemed a bit sluggish and I made comment that perhaps the acceleration parameters of the car needed changing to allow for a speedier start in busy city traffic.

As we pulled out of the carpark and onto Park Lane in my Prius' EV mode, we both commented that the acceleration the Prius exibited was more in the oh-so-restricted Toyota EV mode than the Ev'ie had shown in the entire eventful seven mile trip. So, is the Ev'ie any good? In my test drive, NO. The idea is sound, the company seems genuinely focused on the electric vehicle's cause and certainly talks the talk. But if yesterday's little outing is anything to go by then the company needs to spend some serious time looking at reliability issues before it goes any further demonstrating the vehicles to the public. I was told by Richard that it was an event he'd never experienced before, but when I got home I checked online. What Car? seem to have had a similar experience to us - all be it with a prototype of the Ev'ie. We certainly didn't drive the same car as the What Car? team (ours was blue) but it certainly seems like our two experiences are scarily similar, pointing perhaps to a design flaw?

It should be said, however, that the Birmingham Post took an Ev'ie for a spin around Birmingham and had no issues - driving it for many many miles and reaching motorway speeds. I only wish that our experience had been half the fun that Ed Stephens, the motoring correspondent for the Birmingham Post had. But it wasn't.

With two bad test-drives now under it's belt the ECC needs to pull it's finger out. I got an email later on that day from Richard, letting me know that as yet, they hadn't found any issues with the car and had completed a 20 mile trip after Robert and I had left in the same car we'd been having so much trouble with. He did tell me that the car was going to be taken back to their workshop for further troubleshooting but that at the moment it did look as if the initial outcome is that potentially the car was driven too aggressively and over heated.



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