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Future models - Citroen - C-Zero

First look: Citroen C-Zero EV breaks cover

Zero hero: The emissions-free C-Zero is due on sale alongside Peugeot’s almost-identical i0n, late in 2010.

Citroen uncovers its i-MiEV-based C-Zero EV, which might be sold here from 2011

Citroen logo12 Nov 2009

By TERRY MARTIN

THE missing link to Mitsubishi’s electric vehicle (EV) partnership with PSA Peugeot-Citroen emerged this week with the unveiling of the i-MiEV-based Citroen C-Zero, which is a candidate for sale in Australia from 2011.

While the Peugeot variant, dubbed the i0n, was unveiled on September 8 and made its world premiere at the Frankfurt motor show later that month, Citroen’s all-but-identical version has taken until now to be shown ahead of its market introduction alongside the i0n late in 2010.

Citroen’s Australian importer Ateco Automotive has confirmed to GoAuto that it is interested in the car, and that the terms of agreement with Mitsubishi Motors Corporation allowed for sales outside Europe to markets including Australia.

However, Citroen Australia spokesman Daniel Cotterill said formal discussions were still to take place and that the vehicle would not be seen here until at least 2011.

“Of course we are interested,” he said. “But there is nothing concrete and there have been no formal discussions.”

Australian allocations could hinge on demand in Europe, where PSA plans to sell up to 25,000 i-MiEV-based EVs a year across both brands.

33 center imageLeft: Mitsubishi i-MiEV. Below: Peugeot i0n.

A green light will hand Citroen two electrified powertrains to offer Australian customers in the next two years, with a diesel-electric model in the all-new DS5 already confirmed for release here around June 2011.

As GoAuto has reported, Mitsubishi is expected to become the first car company to release an EV in Australia, with the i-MiEV made available to fleet and government purchasers from the first quarter of 2010. The vehicle is also scheduled to arrive in showrooms for general public sales mid-year.

As with the i0n and i-MiEV, the C-Zero is a full-electric vehicle powered by a permanent magnet synchronous motor delivering 47kW from 3000rpm to 6000rpm. Maximum torque of 180Nm is available from 0-2000rpm. Power is transmitted to the rear axle via a single-speed reduction gear.

The motor draws from a 330-volt lithium-ion battery system comprising 88 50Ah cells (for onboard energy of 16kWh), mounted in the centre of the vehicle. Full recharging via a 220-volt socket takes six hours, while an 80 per cent charge can be achieved in 30 minutes using an external station with a single-phase current of 125A at 400V, for power of up to 50kW.

Performance claims include 0-100km/h acceleration in 15 seconds, with the 60-90km/h benchmark achieved in 6.0 seconds. The vehicle has a maximum driving range of 130km, measured over a standard combined cycle. In the city, where the vehicle will spend most of its time, the range will be considerably shorter. Top speed is 130km/h.

Standard features on the C-Zero will include electronic stability and traction control, ABS brakes, six airbags, electric windows and air-conditioning. The compact hatch seats four, has a 166-litre boot and a 9m turning circle.

The C-Zero is claimed to drive like a regular car with an automatic gearbox. A battery charge indicator replaces the fuel gauge, and a beep sounds when the ignition is on to confirm that the car is running.

Peugeot Automobiles Australia (PAA) will look into the prospect of securing its version of the PSA Peugeot-Citroen electric vehicle twins – the i0n – based on the Mitsubishi i-MiEV.

“We are very keen to bring products to Australia that feature significant technological advancements – and there are a number of those on the horizon for Peugeot,” PAA spokesman Mark McCartney told GoAuto, referring also to models based on PSA’s forthcoming diesel-electric powertrain.

“As a result, we will naturally be looking at the i0n – however, at the moment it is too far away to comment on the likelihood of it reaching Australia.”

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