C-Zero

C-Zero

The C-Zero is, like the C-Crosser and C1, a Citroen with a fairly strong Japanese accent. As with the C-Crosser, it's a joint-development project with Mitsubishi - in this case, the Mitsubishi i, a small Kei-class city car.

Kei-cars have no direct equivalent outside Japan, being a legally defined class of vehicle with certain benefits to their ownership. Not least amongst these is exemption from strict requirements to prove you've got somewhere to park it before you can register it...

However, the C-Zero is not based on the normal petrol i, available in Europe for several years prior to the C-Zero's launch. It's based on the i-MiEV, a plug-in electric derivative - and is also available as the Peugeot i-ON.

C-Zero

The biggest drawback with all electric cars is the range from a battery charge and the time to recharge. The claims for the C-Zero seem realistic, unlike some - 90+ mile range, and six hours to fully recharge from a 13A domestic socket - or 30min to reach 80% from a 125A 415v three-phase supply. It has, of course, put a little weight on compared to the petrol version - up from 900kg to 1100kg - but is otherwise basically identical - four doors, four seats, and a rear-engined layout similar to that familiar from the Smart ForTwo.

C-Zero

There are small styling and interior differences between the three versions, but at the time of writing (shortly before the official UK launch) the most major difference appears to be how you get your hands on one... Mitsubishi already list the i-MiEV as available for sale (for £24,000 - the petrol version was £9,500 when last sold in the UK in 2009), whilst Citroen & Peugeot are likely to only offer a three-year, 40k mile lease for £415/month + vat - around the same amount as you could find a cheap lease on an upper-spec C5.

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