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Citroën Just Embarrassed Tesla
The Citroën E-C3 is the Tesla Model 2 you've been waiting for.
If you live in the US, you might not have heard of Citroën, let alone ever seen one. This wonderfully quirky French company has been at the forefront of the automotive world since its inception, thanks to its unique, unorthodox, and out-of-the-box mass-market designs like the brilliant 2CV. However, Citroën has been behind the curve and playing catch up for the past twenty years or so. But this will change next year when their revolutionary E-C3 comes to market. This EV can rapid charge in 32 minutes and has a range of 199 miles, yet it will cost nearly half that of a Tesla Model 3!
If you have been following Citroën for the past few years, this E-C3 isn’t a surprise. Not too long ago, Citroën released their Oli electric concept car. This car’s design language and ethos heavily influenced the new E-C3. It is built using revolutionary recycled materials, like polymerised cardboard, and is fully recyclable once scrapped. This means it uses 70% less material by weight and has a far more simple design than the Model 3. This lightweight design means it can get away with a far smaller battery, as the Oli squeezes 248 miles of range from its 40 kWh battery. This tiny battery also means it charges insanely quickly! 10% to 80% only takes 23 minutes. This means it goes nearly as far as a standard range Model 3, charges quicker, and yet, thanks to the material cost savings, could be produced for only $15,400! At least according to my estimates (read more here).
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Now, there is currently a massive hole in the EV market. There is no genuinely affordable and properly usable EV out there. The closest in Europe is the Peugeot e-208, which has similar specs to the Oli but costs the equivalent of $40,000! Needless to say, whoever can fill this space first will have a sales landslide on their hands and will not only open up the EV revolution to the average person but also potentially have sky-high profits.
With this in mind, it is no surprise that Tesla is trying to fill this hole with their upcoming “Model 2”. There have only been rumours for the past few years as to the price and specs of this car, but recent releases give us a far better idea. The Model 2 is slated for a 2027 release at a cost of only $25,000; it will be a golf-sized hatchback design with a 53 kWh battery, giving it 250 miles of range. Charge times are expected to be around 30 minutes, as it will use slower-charging LFP chemistry cells. Musk thinks these specs and price are what will help them sell 2 million Model 2s per year!
But, while this Model 2 will certainly reach a broader audience than Tesla’s current line-up, they aren’t the first to the affordable and usable EV market.
BYD already has a car in this segment, and VW is set to launch theirs in 2025. The BYD Dolphin is again about the size and shape of a golf; it costs $25,899 (equivalent, before subsidies) and has a 39 kWh battery, giving it 211 miles of range and a 30% to 80% charge time in 28 minutes. This makes it one of the most affordable EVs today but puts its specs slightly behind the Model 2. However, by 2027, the price of the Dolphin will likely drop, or its specs will be expanded for the same price, as this is a trend with BYD products and almost all EV models.
VW’s ID2 is a far closer competitor to the Model 2. This EV will launch in 2025 with a base trim costing $25,000 (equivalent). For that, you get a 38 kWh battery, 200 miles of range, and a 10% to 80% charge time of only 20 minutes! Moreover, despite its compact design, it isn’t slow, with a 0–60 mph time of 7 seconds and a massive 490-litre boot. There will be variants that cost a few thousand more and can do up to 280 miles per charge. Again, like the BYD, this means that by the time the Model 2 comes out, the top-of-the-range ID2 could easily be cheaper and cost the same as the Model 2.
These three big hitters are gunning for domination in the affordable mass-market EV niche. But Citroën has just undercut them all!
The E-C3 will launch next year at a price of only $23,000 (equivalent). For that, you will get a 44 kWh battery, a range of 199 miles, and a 10–80% charge time of 32 minutes. Later, in 2025, a 125-mile $19,000 variant will be launched. For some idea of how cheap that is, a current base trim petrol-powered C3 aircorss costs the equivalent of $20,000! Make no mistake, this is a revolutionary EV.
How has Citroën made an EV with such good specs so damn affordable? Well, like the Dolphin, it uses cheaper and more rugged LFP cells, except these are designed to charge much faster. The E-C3 also seems to take inspiration from the lightweight ethos of the Oli, as despite using hefty LFP cells, the whole car only weighs 1,600 kg, helping it get more range from its smaller battery. Now, it doesn’t use the mental materials of the Oli, but the efficiency of material use and focus on recycled parts seems to be a crucial part of the E-C3’s design, which will significantly lower its production costs.
Now, again, I have to say that by the time the Model 2 comes out, the E-C3 will have been on sale for at least three years. This means that by the time the Model 2 comes out, the E-C3 could be even cheaper or be fitter with a larger battery for the same price to extend its range. That is assuming Musk hits his deadline with the Model 2, something he is now famous for not doing.
But basically, the E-C3 is the Tesla Model 2 you have all been hoping for. It has a large enough range and a fast enough charge time to enable long-distance journeys without range anxiety. Especially as it only requires the far more common 100 kW charge stations to achieve that 32-minute charge time. Yet, it will cost significantly less than the Model 2 ever will! I only have one bit of bad news about this car, like the VW ID2 and BYD Dolphin; it won’t be sold in the US. So, for us Europeans and Brits, we can start our affordable EV revolution, but those of you across the pond will have to wait.
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