In the current era, the electric car is gaining more and more ground. Also Citroën is making progress with this. Not so long ago, the French brand presented the e-Mehari. This was followed by the small electric AMI. In the meantime, the new EV variant of the C4 is also eager. Citroén, however, has a long history with electrically powered cars, which has its origins in the first van Citroën with front-wheel drive.
Presented in 1939 Citroën the TUB, which was revolutionary with its front-wheel drive and space. The TUB is considered the progenitor of the vans as we know it today. As fuel became increasingly scarce during the Second World War, the Fenwick company developed an electrically powered version of the TUB. The structure and construction of the TUB were ideal for this.
Battery pack of 540 kilos, recommended speed 25 kilometers per hour
The fuel engine was replaced by an electric motor powered by a 540 kilo battery pack. The package was placed in the cargo area. That weight was at the expense of the payload and the sliding side door, but it was possible to drive again. The top speed was 50 km / h. The advice was not to drive faster than 25 km / h, otherwise the batteries would lose their power too quickly. That made the electric TUB Fenwick especially suitable for short trips in the city. About a hundred electric TUBs were to be built in 1941 and 1942.
Early tests in the Netherlands
A jump to the mid-XNUMXs. Back then, the oil crisis was still fresh in their minds. Citroën researched electrically powered cars again. Ten years later, in the summer of 1987, the necessary practical experience was gained during a test with a small series of electric prototypes based on the Citroën C15 delivery van. The test led to the presentation of two electric ones in late 1991 Citroëns: the C15 and C25 Électrique. Sixteen batteries were mounted on the C15 that supplied the electric motor with power; the C25 had 28. The electric motor worked as a dynamo during braking to recharge the batteries.
Electric drive technology was still in its infancy in the early 15s: the top speed of the C25 and C80 Électrique was only 70 km / h with half load. After just 1992 km, the batteries had to be recharged, which took an average of eight hours. Quite a difference from today's values. At the beginning of 15, a few copies of the electric C25 and CXNUMX also came to the Netherlands for practical tests. These were performed in Den Bosch and on the Schiermonnikoog, among others.
After the electric company cars, it was the turn of an electrically powered passenger car: the Citroën AX Électrique, which was presented at the end of 1993. This compact AX was a pioneer in electric city mobility. It had an output of 20 kW (27 HP) and the top speed was 90 km / h. The battery pack was in the back, and generated a range of up to 75 kilometers. Remarkable detail: the AX Électrique occasionally also had to go to the petrol pump. A fuel tank of 8 liters was mounted on board. That was none prolongateur de portée (range extender), but a provision to provide warmth in winter. Built from December 1993 to 1996 Citroën 374 copies of it.
Car sharing experiment
The AX Électrique was ahead Citroën commitment to set up a large-scale experiment in the French city of La Rochelle. There, research was conducted into the use of electric cars in practice. Thirty residents received an electric one for two years Citroën AX at their disposal. Now it was time to make cars available for experiments Citroën not strange, well over twenty years earlier Citroën the same with the M35, among other things to test the Wankel engine for a long time. These cars were retrieved after a long period of time, only to be destroyed. The difference with that experiment was that the AX Electrique was used as a shared car. Citroën not only took care of the cars, but also arranged the necessary infrastructure, from charging points to access passes for the users. A fast charger was even installed.
Longest electric journey ever and the C-Zero
The successors of the AX and the C15, the Citroëns Saxo and Berlingo, were offered in an electrically powered version. Most of those cars stayed in France, but a few dozen copies also came to the Netherlands. The electric Berlingo that a French couple used in 2010 for their trip from Shanghai to Paris is also worth mentioning. The couple drove 15.000 miles, the longest journey to date in a series-produced electric car. At that time, the C-Zero was already available, and it was notable for its practicality and increasing affordability. In the Netherlands, this was also the first EV to be purchased privately, in Germany it was a rewarding object for shared car programs. And not only that: the C-Zero also paved the way for the current electric range of Citroën.