The new Citroen e-C3 at a glance:
- Cheap Stromer SUV from 23,300 euros
- Up to 320 km WLTP range
- 44 kWh LFP battery can be charged with 100 kW DC
- Five seats, 310 l trunk
- Another (cheaper) model is being planned
The Citroen e-C3 is intended to become the “people’s electric car”.
The table for e-mobility is set. New electric models are constantly coming onto the market, batteries are becoming more compact, lighter and more powerful, and the charging infrastructure is constantly growing. And yet the appetite for electric vehicles is limited. In September, fully electric models in Germany recorded a decline of 29 percent compared to the same month last year. One would almost like to say: it’s your own fault. After all, a menu prepared like this has so far only been for high earners. The average price for e-mobiles in Europe is currently around 48,000 euros.
It’s high time for affordable people’s electric vehicles. But apart from the rather simple Dacia Spring (from 22,750 euros), these are still a long way off. A situation as if pictured for the new Citroen e-C3 (combined power consumption: 16.6 kWh/100 km; combined CO₂ emissions: 0 g/km; combined electric range 320 km)². From spring 2024, the French brand from the Stellantis family wants to offer its fully electric small car at prices starting at 23,300 euros. After deducting the environmental bonus of almost 4,800 euros (including the manufacturer’s subsidy), it starts at 18,800 euros – making the e-C3 cheaper than many comparable combustion engines. A declaration of war, especially to the VW Group, which recently developed, among other things, the e-up! finally retired.
Traditionally committed to “something different”.
To launch into the electric world, Citroen has completely revamped its sales share (around 30 percent of sales across Europe). The classic small car becomes a compact, sturdy mini-SUV with ultra-short overhangs and three centimeters higher ground clearance than before. Perhaps comparable in style to the VW T-Cross. The lines show many stylistic elements of the Citroen study Oli from 2022. For example, the beefy front, which bears the new brand logo for the first time and, with the horizontal, black bar and the new LED light signature, represents the future face of all new Citroen models for the first time series carries. Traditionally committed to “something different”, the French distribute interchangeable colored stickers on the front apron and C-pillar. Every buyer gets three sets of Color Clips for free. He will need them too, as easily as the color strips can be removed (from everyone). The visual trick with the different colored roof is almost old hat in this class; in the e-C3 the two-tone roof is standard except in the base.
Despite the crossover format, it is still suitable for the city
Although the Gallic Stromer looks much more stately and grown-up than its predecessor, it only grows in length by just under two centimeters to a city-friendly 4.01 meters. On the other hand, the height has increased significantly by ten centimeters to 1.57 meters, which means three centimeters more air above the top of the front passengers’ heads in the interior – even though they are now sitting three centimeters higher. The architecture of the new smart car platform ensures a surprisingly airy feeling of space, even friends up to 1.80 meters can sit properly in the back. According to Citroen, no one in the class offers more knee room. There is space for 310 liters of luggage in the trunk – ten more than before.
On the dashboard we again discover details that make it from the Concept Oli into the series. The horizontal layout makes the cockpit visually wider, with an optional 10.25-inch display in the middle (standard from Max equipment onwards), which supports 3D navigation as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Instead of an instrument cluster, the driver gets information about speed, range, etc. projected onto a black band behind the steering wheel. This works similarly to a head-up display.
Everything on it, everything inside – but of course also a lot of hard plastic
Of course your fingers are tapping – here and there – on hard plastic. The price would not be possible otherwise. Citroen cleverly avoids the feeling of sitting in a budget can with padded surfaces on the dashboard or splashes of color on the doors. In any case, there is no comparison to the Dacia Spring, where the obvious need to save money takes away the desire for this car for many people.
There will be two equipment lines for the e-C3: You and Max. The entry-level version has many assistants as standard and a fairly complete range of equipment with LED headlights at the front, rear parking sensors, air conditioning or electric exterior mirrors. The “Max” comes with 17 aluminum wheels, LED taillights, automatic climate control and the two-tone roof. The e-mobile can be dressed in five colors – white, gray, black, red and blue, with the pastel blue tone “Monte Carlo” already shining on the sheet metal of the original duck. At Citroen you can’t do without nostalgia.
The lavishly upholstered seats are standard – a dowry from the larger C4 and C5 Aircross models. The Advanced Comfort suspension is also always on board, a kind of legacy of the legendary hydropneumatics, in which oil-bearing springs in the dampers prevent abrupt impact and rebound.
Acceptable performance – also available as a combustion engine
The news that Citroen will also build the C3 with combustion engines at its Trnava plant in Slovakia is not entirely surprising. Only small petrol engines, probably partially electrified. We don’t know exactly yet. However, the focus is clearly on the electric drive, which should achieve a sales share of well over 60 percent. The e-C3’s calling card includes 83 kW/113 hp, acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in around eleven seconds and a top speed of 135 km/h. The French specify the electric range as 320 kilometers suitable for everyday use according to WLTP. An even cheaper variant will follow in 2025 with a range of around 200 kilometers, which will start at 19,990 euros.
The 44 kWh battery for the current model is supplied by SVolt, a subsidiary of the Chinese manufacturer Great Wall. The electric motor that drives the front wheels comes from a joint venture between Stellantis and Nidec. On the DC quick charger, the battery (lithium iron phosphate) with a maximum of 100 kW should be able to be charged from 20 to 80 percent in 26 minutes, on the AC charger with 7 kW it takes 4:10 hours, on the 11 kW wallbox 2: 50 hours. (Text: th/sp-x | Images: manufacturer)