Citroën’s oli concept car photographed in Paris on September 29, 2022. The carmaker says it has a top speed of 110 kilometers per hour.
Eric Piermont | AFP | Getty Images
French automaker Citroen released details of a new electric concept vehicle on Thursday, with the CEO telling CNBC that the electrification of individual transportation was an important part of a sustainable future.
In a paper outlining the concept, called oli, Citroen said it had a target weight of about 1,000 kilograms, or one metric ton, and a range of a whopping 248 miles.
Citroen said the oil’s top speed was limited to 68 miles per hour. The brand, which is owned by Stellantis, said “20% to 80% charge” would take 23 minutes.
The automaker added that vehicle parts “can be reused or recycled during ownership”. According to the document detailing the oil, it has a “flat hood, roof and pick-up bed panels” that are “made from recycled honeycomb cardboard.”
The company was keen to emphasize the smaller scale of the vehicle. “Instead of a 2500 kg ‘palace on wheels’ filled with screens and gadgets, oli proves that more can be achieved with less,” it said.
Citroën also said that limiting the oil’s speed to a maximum of 68 mph was done to “maximize efficiency”.
Speaking to CNBC on Thursday, CEO Vincent Cobée emphasized the importance of electric mobility in the future, and outlined a vision of how he saw the sector developing.
“Of course, and I think we can all agree, the drive towards electrification” [of] individual transportation is a very important part of a sustainable future,” said Cobée, who spoke with Charlotte Reed of CNBC.
“I’m not even talking about regulation, I’m mainly talking about societal expectations,” he added. “How we get there is a very important question.”
Cobée further emphasized the importance of broadening access to EVs. “One thing is, we’ve seen an increase in the performance of electric vehicles over the past 10 years,” he said. “I’m talking about autonomy, power, speed and consequently weight and price.”
“This is a concern for us, because frankly, if the future of an electric car weighs 2.5 tons and 70,000 euros or more in price, then that is not for everyone.”
As European economies face an energy crisis and rising prices in the coming months, there are concerns in some quarters that the rising cost of charging an EV will discourage consumer use.
According to data released this week, electric car drivers in the UK have seen the cost of using a public, “fast” pay-as-you-go charger rise by 42% since May.
And speaking to CNBC earlier in September, the head of equity strategy at Saxo Bank said that “the cost advantage for electric vehicles over a petrol car” in Europe “declined rapidly”.
“I really wonder how much that will affect EV sales,” said Peter Garnry.
Citroën’s Cobée touched upon these topics during his interview with CNBC. “There is a concern about energy prices at the moment – rightly so,” he said. “Now I want… want to make it clear that those concerns may only be in the short or medium term.”
“Clearly we are moving towards a transition in energy resources, with an emphasis on electrification,” he added.
More renewable energy sources would be developed, he said, “and we can hope that this will keep the price and the energy source within affordable limits.”
“So the current short-term crisis is impacting orders, as we’re seeing today for electric cars, but this is, I’d say…maybe an overreaction.”
“And basically we can expect that within a certain time frame energy costs will become more under control. And I don’t think it will change the shift to electrification in any case.”