From the PEUGEOT VLV to the New PEUGEOT e-2008, the tale of an electric revolution
Electric propulsion was used by a few manufacturers in the early days of the car, but was quickly abandoned in favour of oil. PEUGEOT was studying it as early as 1902 to power delivery vehicles. A few models were produced, but the project was left by the wayside. PEUGEOT always remained on standby...
The first PEUGEOT electric vehicle marketed in 1941 was called the VLV (Véhicule Léger de Ville - Light City Vehicle). During the Second World War, petrol rationing meant that alternative energy sources needed to be found, and PEUGEOT was the only major manufacturer to take an interest in this means of propulsion. The VLV was built in Paris from June 1941 to February 1943 (377 units).
In the 70s and 80s, always on the lookout for new technologies, PEUGEOT joined forces with Alstom and EDF (Electricté de France) to offer electric propulsion on PEUGEOT 104 prototypes (4 coupes and 3 vans), then on PEUGEOT J5 and J9 utility vehicles. In 1983, a new programme began involving the PEUGEOT 205, which stemmed from collaboration between PSA and SAFT (batteries). The PEUGEOT 205 was the start of the PEUGEOT 106 ῍series programme῍. A unique, full-scale experience is then attempted: to make a fleet of electrified PEUGEOT 106 available to customers - via a self-service system. Thus was born, in December 1993, the campaign ῍50 electric vehicles at La Rochelle῍.
From 1990 to 2010, a few concept cars illustrated PEUGEOT's continuous interest in developing electric propulsion: ION (first of its name) in 1994, TULIP and Touareg in 1996, the original BB1 concept presented in Frankfurt in 2009 and the fabulous EX1 concept of 2010, which holds 6 international acceleration records achieved in Montlhéry and China.
At the dawn of the 21st century, the car was facing major upheaval. The energy transition was becoming an essential part in the fight to mitigate climate risks. In 2019, the PEUGEOT Brand launched a complete range of vehicles with low or zero CO2 emissions. This technological push is based on 3 pillars: Serenity, Pleasure, Simplicity. With the same ambition from the outset: to make mobility safe, clean and accessible to the greatest number of users.
Serenity because the PEUGEOT range will be 50% electrified in 2020 and 100% in 2025. Pleasure, because it will always be part of PEUGEOT’s DNA. Like the 508 PEUGEOT SPORT ENGINEERED Concept, which heralded the development of a high-performance electrified line of production vehicles. And lastly, Simplicity, because the choice of silhouette does not dictate its use.
Nine months after the launch of the new PEUGEOT e-208, the brand's showroom is now home to a wide range of electrified models: e-208, e-2008, 508 HYBRID and 3008 HYBRID4 for passenger vehicles; e-Expert, E-Traveller and soon e-Boxer for commercial vehicles. The electric revolution has well and truly begun.
PEUGEOT VLV (1941), simple ingenuity
Faced with the German occupation and shortages, in 1941 PEUGEOT proposed a unique alternative for the time: the VLV, for "Véhicule Léger de Ville - Light City Vehicle", a small car designed for an efficient electric drive train. This was the first PEUGEOT electric vehicle and was a mini cabriolet with two offset seats. This economical vehicle, designed for urban use, is intended to meet the transport needs of those whose vehicle had been requisitioned or could not be driven due to a lack of rationed and very expensive fuel. Designed as a "cyclecar", with a wide track at the front and a narrow track at the rear, the VLV runs on electricity using batteries stored in the front trunk, and an electric motor without a differential that manages the rear wheels. Its range was 70 to 80 km at speeds up to 35 km/h. It was mostly used by postal workers or doctors. 377 PEUGEOT VLVs were produced between 1941 and 1943 at the La Garenne factory in the Paris region.
PEUGEOT 106 ELECTRIC (1993), ahead of its time
As the first major European manufacturer to have marketed electric vehicles to local authorities and companies in 1989 (J5), PEUGEOT started marketing electric cars to private individuals in July 1995 with the "106 ELECTRIC". This commercial launch was preceded by an experiment conducted in partnership with EDF and the Communauté de Villes de La Rochelle from the end of 1993 to the end of 1995. Twenty-five "106 ELECTRIC" were tested by private individuals, professionals and local administrations. The 106 was produced from 1990 to 2003 in 2,798,246 units, including 3,542 electric models between 1993 and 2003.
PEUGEOT Ion Concept (1994), the first draft of an urban electric vehicle
The PEUGEOT Ion was unveiled at the 1994 Paris Salon. An exploration vehicle conceived and designed exclusively for the city, this car is the combination of adapted and feasible solutions, designed to best meet the expectations and requirements of an urban clientele. It offers the driver and passengers a level of comfort and equipment that was still futuristic in the 2000s for series production cars. Everything is designed and set up to make life on board easier: two wide doors provide access to four seats, armrests, CD player, hands-free telephone, LCD screen and space for children's video games. 3.32 m long and 1.60 m wide, the PEUGEOT Ion Concept is powered by a 20 kW DC motor powered by nickel-cadmium batteries.
PEUGEOT TULIP (1996), a pioneer of car sharing
Free, Individual and Public Urban Transport, or TULIP, comes from a desire to better reconcile the city, the car and the environment in 1996. The TULIP concept is organised around a network of vehicles for hire for the city and for public use, a central station for management, booking, mobile maintenance and billing.
PEUGEOT Touareg (1996), the electrically-powered leisure 4x4
Presented at the 1996 Paris Motor Show, this leisure and open-air vehicle is a silent, odourless and environmentally friendly off-roader thanks to its nickel/cadmium hydride batteries located in the back of the front seats. With its silent running, total absence of polluting emissions and PEUGEOT-type aesthetic treatment, this vehicle showcases all the clear signs of a real symbiosis between travel, leisure and nature. The electric engine has a power of 35.5 kW. It is assisted by a single-cylinder engine, acting as a generator allowing the batteries to be recharged autonomously and providing a range of 300 kilometres on 15 litres of fuel.
PEUGEOT e-doll and PEUGEOT Bobslid (2000), a vision of urban mobility
In 2000, during the Paris Motor Show, PEUGEOT exhibited four concept cars on its stand, all with a futuristic design. They were created by Gérard Welter's teams under the themes of "the year 2000" and "urban mobility". Among these four concepts, named "City Toyz", two are electrically-powered : e-doll and Bobslid.
The PEUGEOT e-doll is a concept car that can accommodate three people, powered by two electric engines taken directly from the PEUGEOT Scoot'elec.
The PEUGEOT Bobslid is 100% electric concept car with three seats (one central, two rear), powered by 40 electric motors spread across four driving wheels, with joystick steering.
PEUGEOT BB1 (2009), the bold electric city car
At the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, Peugeot presented a 100% electric city car concept called BB1. Capable of accommodating four people in just 2.50 metres in length, the BB1 concept car is a 100% electric vehicle which completely overhauls the idea of a car in every way: architecture, style, interior design, driving, connectivity, while respecting its environment as much as possible. Ultra-compact and ultra-light (600 kg) with its carbon body, the BB1 concept car is a model of urban vehicle adapted to the constraints of the dense city. Its Li-ion battery already gives it a range of around 100 km, enough for urban use, including car sharing.
PEUGEOT EX1 (2010), electric performance at peak level
Designed in 2010 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the PEUGEOT brand, this 100% electric concept car is a two-seater roadster with a futuristic style and original architecture, designed to offer intense and real driving sensations. The EX1 goes from 0 to 100 km/h in just 2.24 seconds to reach a top speed of 260 km/h in 5.1 seconds. Its performance is the result of its sharp aerodynamics, ultra-light structure and two electric engines, which give it its maximum cumulative power of 250 kW (340 bhp) spread across its 4-wheel drive system. Thanks to its carbon structure and light weight, the PEUGEOT EX1 concept car broke six world records - approved by the International Automobile Federation, on the legendary Montlhéry circuit, but also in China.
NEW PEUGEOT SUV e-2008 (2019)
Making its world premiere at the 2019 Canton Motor Show, the new PEUGEOT SUV e-2008 is the ultra-modern interpretation of an instinctive and versatile driving experience. It has the dimensions of a true SUV and stands out with a powerful and distinctive style. Ultra-technological, it embodies the brand new generation of the immersive PEUGEOT i-Cockpit® 3D, equipment and driving aids at the level of the brand's best know-how. This first 100% electric PEUGEOT SUV gives you access to a new world of sensations: top-level brilliance, silent operation, no vibrations and freedom to drive in Green Zones with restricted access. With a range of 320 km (under the WLTP approval protocol), 100 kW (136 bhp) and 260 Nm of torque (available from 0 km/h) ensuring first-class acceleration and boost, the dynamic behaviour of the new SUV PEUGEOT e-2008 provides the road feel and driving pleasure for which the brand's vehicles are renowned.
Several of these iconic vehicles are on display at the PEUGEOT Adventure Museum in Sochaux. It is on display until Sunday 31 January 2021.
You will also find out that PEUGEOT had already imagined the hybrid before its time in 1917, electric vans with bodies by Janoir in 1926 and prototypes based on the 202 in 1940. Although these projects had no commercial follow-up, they demonstrate the PEUGEOT brand's taste for innovation.