The cheap electric car is not yet ready. In other words, everyone is working on it, but hardly anyone has managed to make one yet, at least not using what might be described as 'traditional' methods.

However, Stellantis is trying to save money and has officially launched a zero-emission car that costs less than €25,000 (approx. £22,000), and in future it will even cost less than €20,000 (£17,500), paving the way for a new family of low-cost models that run solely on batteries. It's called the Citroën e-C3, and it's due for delivery very soon, and it has every intention of upsetting the balance of the market. Let's get to know it better.

So many ways to save money

The Citroën e-C3 is based on the Smart Car platform, which Stellantis produces in India and uses for models aimed at emerging markets. It is derived from the CMP designed by PSA before the marriage with FCA and inaugurated in 2018 with the DS 3 Crossback.

Citroën e-C3 (2024)

Citroën e-C3

A multi-energy platform, this electric version adopts a 44 kWh lithium-iron-phosphate battery manufactured by the Chinese giant CATL.

What impact do these choices have on the price? Let's make a comparison. The Jeep Avenger, which shares many similarities with the e-C3 in terms of size and shape (just look at the rear pillar), costs between €10,000 and €15,000 (£8,600 and £13,000) more. Among the many differences, it adopts a larger battery (up to 54 kWh) and a traditional chemistry (nickel-manganese-cobalt).

Citroën e-C3 2023

The Citroën e-C3 to be produced and sold in India from 2023

It transforms into an SUV

Let's go a step further. In this latest evolution, the Citroën e-C3 is transformed into an SUV. It is 4.01 metres long (2 centimetres longer than its predecessor), 1.57 metres high (10 centimetres higher) and 1.76 metres wide. Ground clearance has also been increased, from 13 to 16 centimetres.

  • Length : 4.01 metres
  • Width : 1.76 metres
  • Height : 1.57 metres
  • Boot capacity : 310 litres
Citroën e-C3 (2024)

The links with the Jeep Avenger are particularly obvious at the rear.

The transition from saloon to city car is also accompanied by a marked change in appearance: the soft lines give way to a squarer, more muscular silhouette. In keeping with the brand's tradition, the e-C3 also adopts the now famous Progressive Dynamic Dampers, shock absorber tips that considerably reduce the vibrations and jolts transmitted to the cabin when driving on uneven surfaces, creating what Citroën has called the'magic carpet' effect.

Inside, too, the ambience is pure Citroën with the light tones of the seat upholstery and the instrumentation, which also uses a small horizontally-developed screen performing a function similar to that of a head-up display.

As far as infotainment is concerned, the system varies according to trim level. The richest version has the classic central touchscreen, while the top version has a smartphone docking station that allows some interaction between the car and the external device.

Up to 199 mile range

Mechanically, the car is equipped with a front-mounted permanent magnet electric motor that transmits power to the front wheels. It delivers 113 PS (83 kW), enabling it to accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 11 seconds and reach a speed of 71 mph (115 kph).

In terms of range, it promises to cover up to 199 mi (320 km) on a full tank of electrons. As for recharging, the Citroën e-C3's battery can be powered by AC or DC current, up to 100 kW. That's a respectable figure, allowing a charge from 10% to 80% in around 25 minutes.

  • Battery : 44 kWh
  • Charging : up to 100 kW
  • Range : 199 miles WLTP
  • Max power : 113 PS
  • Max torque : n.a.
  • 0 to 62 mph : 11 seconds
  • Max speed : 71 mph
Citroën e-C3 (2024)

Citroën e-C3: 100 kW of energy in 25 minutes

A first test before the Panda

The Citroën e-C3 is an important model in its own right, with a retail price starting at €23,900 (UK pricing not available yet). But it's all the more important because, as we've said, the car paves the way for a family of electric cars that will arrive in the next few years and allow Stellantis to populate a segment that's still not very popular.

Among the most eagerly awaited cars is the highly acclaimed Fiat Panda, which will also be electric with the next generation. But there's still time for that.

Gallery: Citroen e-C3 (2024)