European OEMs expand BEV ranges

Both Citroen and BMW bring new all-electric vehicles to the party

European OEMs expand BEV ranges
Citroen is joining a European BEV B segment that is set to get a lot more crowded

France’s Citroen, part of the sprawling Stellantis conglomerate, has revealed its new e-C3, which it describes as “the first European affordable small car”. Not to be outdone, Germany’s BMW is launching its new i5 BEV sedan into the European market.

The e-C3 is the fourth generation of Citroen’s best-selling car. Since its 2002 launch, C3 has shifted more than 5.6mn units and currently represents 29pc of the marque’s European sales.

In 2022, the C3 captured 11pc overall of the European B-segment market. So the firm will be hoping a BEV version makes an impression on a part of the European EV market where options have been scarce but that is set to get very crowded very quickly.

At the moment, only Citroen’s Stellantis stablemates Peugeot and Opel, BMW subsidiary Mini and Chinese OEMs BYD and MG offer B-segment BEV cars, as opposed to SUVs/crossovers. But, by 2025, another Stellantis brands in Lancia, Japan’s Nissan, Germany’s VW and its subsidiary Cupra, and France’s Renault will have joined them.

Later in the decade, Renault’s Romanian daughter Dacia will also join the fray, while Opel will introduce a replacement for its e-Corsa by 2028.  

A 320km range e-C3 will be offered at a net price starting at €23,300 ($24,500) as “Citroen aggressively ramps up its mission to make all-electric mobility accessible to all”. And the firm promises even more affordable 200km range version to come by 2025, starting at an even lower €19,990.

Capability of 100kW DC fast recharging promises to take the e-C3 from 20pc to 80pc capacity in just 26 minutes. And the models has been designed from scratch on its BEV-native Citroen Smart Car platform.

“Offering affordable vehicles has always been a major part of Citroen’s DNA,” says the firm’s CEO Thierry Koskas. “But customer expectations for vehicles in the B-segment have changed, notably with the rise in popularity of SUVs and the increasing desire to drive electric in and around our cities.

“It has become more challenging for European vehicle makers to meet those expectations. Uniquely, Citroen is daring to do exactly that with the all-new, all-electric e-C3 for European buyers: a fresh, sharp and comfortable B-hatch that is fully equipped, specifically designed for and made in Europe, and extremely affordable,” he continues.

5 Series goes electric

This weekend will see BMW targeting a different aspect of the European BEV market as it launches sales of its i5 sedan on the continent as part of a wider rollout of its new 5 Series. “Even before sales have begun, incoming orders show that [the BEV] model variant in particular is meeting with high customer demand and will thus further accelerate the ramp-up of electric mobility pushed by BMW,” the firm says.

The new BMW i5 eDrive40 offers a 498-582km WLTP range, while the top model of the entire series is the BMW i5 M60 xDrive. The new 5 Series debuted in South Korea before hitting Europe, and it is set to go to the US in late October with other global markets following in late November.

A new generation of the BMW 5 Series Touring will also premier in spring 2024 with, for the first time, an all-electric drive option.

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