New Citroen e-C3 brings 199-mile range for £21,990

Key to achieving such keen pricing was the use of the cost-effective Smart Car platform, which was originally reserved for the separate ‘CC21’ C3 sold in India and Latin America.

Although the new Europe-bound C3 was conceived as an EV, this platform can support a combustion powertrain if there is sufficient demand (as was the case in the UK with the C4 X), and Citroën has left enough room beneath the bonnet for a petrol engine. A Citroën UK spokesperson confirmed to Autocar that the combustion C3 will target a starting price below £15,000, making it a rival to the Dacia Sandero.

The Smart Car platform was adapted to satisfy European regulations, gaining a stronger crash structure (the CC21 C3 infamously scored zero stars in Latin NCAP safety testing), and was given a host of tweaks to improve refinement, while the battery compartment under the rear seat bench was changed from a T-shape to a square to improve capacity.

The LFP chemistry brings several advantages: it is cheaper to produce, lasts longer and completely omits cobalt. However, LFP cells are not as energy-dense as nickel manganese cobalt, meaning LFP battery packs of equivalent capacity weigh more. Additionally, LFP batteries are typically more sensitive to external temperatures, with significantly reduced charge rates in cold conditions.

Citroën is confident that the relatively small range of the new C3 will be plenty, as project manager Guillaume Noël explained: “In the B-segment, we want to keep it simple. We know that, on average, most of our customers do less than 80km [50 miles] per day, and I’m sure that, even in cold weather, we will be able to meet that requirement.” In the name of affordability, no heat pump will be fitted.

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