Driven: Peugeot iOn
Nissan, for example, has opted for a spacious five-seater hatchback layout for the LEAF, with plenty of boot space to create an all-round practical vehicle for family use.
Peugeot’s iOn on the other hand, which like the Citroen C-ZERO is based on the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, is a compact four-seater that’s narrow but high sided to maximise space and caters primarily for city environments. This is backed up by a slightly shorter range, lower top speed and reduced power.
I can see the merits of both the family car and city car approaches – particularly for the wide variety of purposes that fleets may need to put these vehicles to.
That said, the iOn is still practical; thanks to its tall stance and the fact that the battery pack is under the passenger floor, it offers decent space for two rear passengers and luggage space of 166 litres.
Having already driven the LEAF, my test of the iOn reminded me how fun electric vehicles are to drive, thanks to the abundant torque from low revs. The driving experience is also very smooth, helped by the fact that there’s just one gear, and the iOn also feels stable and sharp to drive, with a very tight turning circle.
Its top speed of 81mph means it’s also capable of motorway miles, but the attendant drain on the range means you wouldn’t want to do this sort of speed for long. I found the stated 93-mile range could drop to around 50 miles when the car is driven without any economy tactics and including motorway stretches. Unlike the Nissan LEAF or the i-MiEV there’s also no separate Eco setting.
Fleet take-up for the iOn, like all EVs, will boil down to cost-effectiveness. While many may baulk at the Peugeot’s OTR price, Peugeot Contract Hire offer a more palatable “all-inclusive” mobility package.
Under the four-year/40,000-mile contract, the iOn will cost £415 a month (excluding VAT) with full warranty cover for the vehicle, battery and electric power train for the duration, plus full servicing and maintenance (including tyres, brake pads and brake discs) and the Peugeot Connect Services, which provide information such as recharging stations and SOS services.
Like all electric vehicles, the iOn is suited to a specific base of users and any fleets considering adding it will need to consider it for its merits and limitations. But it’s surprisingly enjoyable to drive and, in the right environment, very practical and affordable to run too.
Sector: City Car
Type: Battery Electric Vehicle
Price: £28,155 (after £5,000 Government grant)
Electric range: 93 miles
CO2 emissions (tailpipe): 0g/km
Charging port: J1772 AC & CHAdeMo DC