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Citroen eC3 Electric First Drive Review

The eC3 has the same upright attitude as the ICE, with all its sharp and intelligent components, such as the Chevron symbol that flows beautifully across the front and splits into the DRLs. The grille is exposed, rather than sealed, like on an EV, and the bonnet has those lovely deep creases. The test car is bright orange with optional white contrast features, which are especially noticeable on the side panels.

Citroen eC3 Electric First Drive Review

The ICE and EV variants have minimal variations, with the latter having merely 'e' and eC3 badging and a charging port flap carved into the right front fender. Even though the eC3 has a blank fuel filling flap, it does not open here. If you look attentively, you will notice that the car is lower between the wheels because of the battery pack inserted below.

The ground clearance has been reduced from 180mm to 170mm, although it remains acceptable. The floor has also been elevated by 70mm, and while you do sit in a knees-up position in the back, you can extend your legs far with lots of room and space under the front seats. The battery pack is a single unit located entirely within the car's wheelbase, as opposed to the Tiago EV, which has a longer 2,540mm wheelbase. Because the Tata has an extra unit housed behind the rear axle where the spare tyre would normally be, the eC3 has a spare wheel. The boot space remains at 315 litres, as it did in the ICE variant.

Citroen claims that the C3's CMP platform was created with electrification in mind from the outset, therefore the eC3 arrives six months after the ICE version. According to the manufacturer, the battery was also well packaged. There is no trunk (front trunk) because the motor and controller unit accept that area.

Citroen eC3: Interior

The electric and ICE models are similar on the inside, except for the removal of a gear lever. Instead, there is a little toggle switch to select driving direction and a button to the right to select Eco mode. There is plenty of storage space throughout the cabin, and the dashboard features the same smart contrast-styled panel that comes in grey or bright orange. The steering wheel is unchanged, but with some weird cubic-styled elements, while the tiny black and white instrument panel gains a few extra panels indicating range and charging. The 10.2-inch screen is large and clear, with good speakers and wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support. Seats are also carried over, making them comfortable from front to back. There is enough head- and legroom for four people, but the interior is too narrow for five adults. The level of equipment is also identical, which is not a good thing. Yes, there is the huge touchscreen, and thankfully, unlike the petrol version, the eC3 now has a day/night setting for the IRVM, but there are still many fundamentals lacking. There is no rear wash wiper or defogger, manual AC, manual ORVM adjustment, or shared rear power window controls. The ICE version is deficient in equipment, but the electric C3 - which will be more expensive - appears to be far worse. A connectivity package with features like geo-fencing and intruder alert is making some repairs, and it will undoubtedly make its way to the gasoline automobile.

Citroen eC3: Battery, Range, and Motor Power

Unlike other low-cost EVs, the eC3 has only one battery size: a 29.2kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The claimed range is 320km (ARAI), but like with other EVs, expect far less. They plan to test the range, performance, and charging capabilities very soon. Because Citroen does not include a wall box charger, charging from 10% to 100% at home on a 15A connection will take 10.5 hours. Anyone may charge it faster by using a DC fast charger, and Citroen estimates that charging from 10% to 80% will take about an hour.

Citroen states that because of the slower charging rate, you can always DC fast charge the car. Others advocate using regular AC charging to extend battery life most of the time. The slower charging speed is due to the battery's cooling system. The eC3 is air-cooled, which, unlike other models that use liquid cooling, is not always a bad thing. Batteries only heat up while charging and draining quickly, which the eC3 does not do. Even with a DC fast charger, charging speed and discharge requirements are reduced by a motor that produces a modest 57hp - torque is a more realistic 143Nm - and draws power slowly. The top speed is also restricted at 107kph.

Citroen eC3: Performance

It just had a brief drive at the Wabco test track, but performance is not the purpose of the electric C3. When you press the accelerator, the power delivery is sluggish, and acceleration is far from average for an EV; nevertheless, after around 30kph, you do move a little faster. Citroen claims a 0-60kph time of 6.8 seconds and a top speed of 107kph, putting it in the same league as the Tiago EV in terms of figures and sensation.

Fortunately, switching to Eco mode has little influence on performance, and there is slight difference between the two modes. The electric Citroen C3 also includes preset brake energy recuperation, which provides a retardation sensation comparable to engine braking on a typical ICE vehicle.

It is a bad you did not get to drive the eC3 in the real world. Driving in congested areas would certainly provide a truer view of the vehicle's performance. Except for the terrible off-the-line responsiveness, it would be perfectly enough as a little city hatchback. Due to the lack of a traditional gearbox, the electric Citroen is incredibly quiet, with little to no engine noise, and is naturally smooth with a consistent power flow. The steering is not as light as a one-finger twist, but it is exactly right, and the weight conveys confidence through the few turns one can experienced. However, there is body roll, and it is evident that the eC3 dislikes being hustled. Citroen's characteristic suspension is clearly built for comfort.

Citroen eC3: Verdict

Citroen's Tiago EV competing against the eC3 will not deter customers. Both will be recognised as electric hatchbacks best suited to city driving because the EV market has yet to mature and segment into various sub-segments. So, a starting price of less than Rs 10 lakh for the Live version and Rs 12 lakh for the higher Feel trim would give the eC3 a good chance in the real world, where it will drive it soon and report back.

Should You Buy the Citroen eC3?

Citroen's emphasis on an enormous range and big interior space will be the car's selling factors. Given the current situation, a car like the eC3 will appeal to individuals who require a second car with fixed running, those searching for a cost-effective way to obtain green credentials, or those who use a car sparingly and want to stand out from the crowd. Citroen is expected to sell the two eC3 models in the Rs 10.50 lakh to Rs 13 lakh bracket, placing it in contention with other EVs such as the Tiago, Tigor, and even the two-door MG EV that will come later this year.

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