French Electric Cars: Magnifique ou Horrible

Renault Zoe in colours of french flag on white background

France is a wonderful country. Known for many things, such as art, fashion, food and a cultured and varied history. The French have also provided us with great cars over the years, from manufacturers such as Peugeot, Citroën and Renault. So, how have the French adapted to the world of electric cars? Are the cars still as chic and magnifique as always, or have there been a faux pas or two along the way?

Here I will look at some of the French electric cars on offer to try and give a little insight into how the French electric cars are faring.

Bonjour to Renault Electric Cars

Renault were one of the very first manufacturers of electric cars in Europe. It is perhaps surprising, for that reason, that Renault have only produced two pure electric cars.

The flagship electric car from Renault is the wonderful little Renault Zoe. This electric vehicle has been updated once or twice since its original inception, but still remains a very strong performer in the electric car market. The Renault Zoe may be small but it has a big heart. 

There isn’t a lot of difference from the outside view between the Renault Zoe and the Renault Clio. This has worked in the Zoe’s favour. It is the familiarity of the Renault Zoe that has made it so endearing. Some early adopting manufacturers really went for the different and futuristic look in order to differentiate the electric cars from the conventionally fuelled ones. Not everyone wanted that though.

It is a testament to the Renault Zoe that it remains ever present to this day. There is no wonder that the French are incredibly proud of this little wonder car.

La Renault Megane E-Tech

The other of Renault’s electric cars is the Renault Megane E-Tech. For some reason this car seems to have flown under the radar somewhat, just as its sibling has soared. This is quite surprising as the Megane E-Tech is quite an impressive vehicle, especially when compared to similar models of electric cars.

On the bigger battery option you will see a real world range of around 260 miles and will be able to achieve 0-60 in 7.5 seconds. Not too shabby at all.

Renault Kangoo

We can’t talk about Renault electric cars without giving a little mention to their best known electric van.

The Renault Kangoo is a fantastic small van that is perfect for local work around towns and cities. With a real world range of around 100 miles, the Renault Kangoo has more than enough range for anyone working in a local capacity.

Peugeot – C’est Bon

Peugeot has long been established as a reliable small car maker. Their reputation continues in a very good vein with their electric cars too.

First up is the Peugeot e-208. This small car is almost identical to the petrol and diesel versions. Only minor differences can be noticed when looking a little closer. You’ll find small ‘e’ badges on the side and that the lion badge on the grille has a light blue hue.

The interior design of the Peugeot e-208 has been well put together and there are array of visually pleasing features, especially the buttons on the central console

The e-208 comes with a 50kWh battery and has a quoted range of 217 miles. There is excellent fast charging capabilities on the vehicle, with the powertrain able to charge at up to 100kW. An excellent statistic as far as electric cars go.

Encore Avec La Peugeot e-2008 

The Peugeot e-2008 has proven to be one of the most popular electric cars on the road today. This is a nice looking compact SUV. The grille on this Peugeot is one of the largest I’ve seen, however, this is not a bad thing.

Everything looks well designed and in proportion. While not going to set the world on fire with design, it is a safe option that will not look dated just a few years down the line.

The statistics on the car will certainly not wow you, but they aren’t awful. There is a top speed of 93mph which is more than enough speed for the fastest roads in the UK. The real world range is just south of 200 miles and the car can achieve 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds. 

One thing the Peugeot e-2008 does have going for it is space. There is a remarkable sized boot which can store a lot of luggage. Overall, this is a really nice car and one that I hope we see around for a while.

Citroën – C’est Très Français!

Of all the manufacturers in this list, Citroën is probably the most French to it’s core. The Citroën cars have a rich Gallic history and they are continuing to shine.

Citroën has brought out more electric cars than either Renault or Peugeot. The first one I will mention is the latest of their electric cars, the Citroën e-C4 X. 

This latest offering is a combination of two previous electric cars from Citroën, the e-C4 and the X5. Citroën has looked at what they liked from both cars and have put them together in the e-C4 X. 

This car is a lovely looking saloon vehicle that is very similar in shape to the e-C4. The specs of the car are very similar to other Stellantis vehicles. There is a 50kWh battery and the powertrain has a 100kW charging capacity. The range is 224 miles, which is very good for a 50kWh battery car.

Again, it is the boot space which is quite incredible. There are 570 litres of space in the trunk which is much larger than other cars of the same category and size.

Interestingly, the e-C4 X will be available as a petrol and diesel version in Europe, However, in the UK it will only be offered with an electric drivetrain. This vehicle will be available to order later in 2022 with deliveries expected to start in 2023.

Citroën Electric Cars – Mon Ami

When are electric cars not electric cars? Well, when they are a Citroën Ami for a start. Confused? I’m not surprised.

The Citroën Ami is a super fun little car (that’s not a car). It has 4 wheels, a steering wheel and is powered by an electric battery and motor. However, the Ami is not officially classed as an electric car. It is instead classed as a large quadricycle.

In fact, in the Ami’s native France, anyone over the age of 14 can drive the Citroën Ami without a valid driving license. However, I wouldn’t try this in the UK. Over here you are still required to be over the age of 17 and have a valid driving license.

For the sake of not confusing everyone I will still refer to the cute little Citroën Ami as one of the glorious French electric cars.

Electric cars should be fun and this is exactly what the Citroën Ami is. At 95 inches long, 55 inches wide and just 60 inches high, you can forget about using the Ami as a family vehicle. However, for a small, practical city run-around vehicle, the Ami is perfect.

The battery is a mere 5.5kWh in size. A maximum speed of 30mph can be reached, so you won’t break any land speed records in this car. And you can get 40-50 miles of range, which rules out cross country driving. There is also the issue of needing to plug the Ami into a 3-pin plug to charge, which is not very practical at all.

However, the Ami does look really lovely. The front and back of the vehicle are symmetrical with interchangeable panels, the inside is kept very simple (there isn’t any infotainment system here), and there are clever touches which remind me of some of the most iconic French cars from history. This includes the fold up windows which could have come directly from a CV2.

Merci La Belle France

Although maybe not celebrated as much as cars from Britain, Germany and Japan, the French have still given us some wonderful and memorable electric cars. I, for one, really hope that France continues to grow in the electric vehicle revolution.

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* All information correct as of 23/08/2022.

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