back to article Silent, spacious and... well, insipid: Citroën's electric C-Zero car

French car manufacturer Citroën's logo represents the pioneering gear system designed by André Citroën. The company has a long history of innovation from the Traction Avant to the amazing DS – so is Citroën's C-Zero electric car similarly pioneering? A smart Hoxton cafe, not really an electricity showroom All that electricity …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

errr..

didn't you folks review this thing three years ago, albeit with a Peugeot badge on the front?

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/06/20/review_cars_peugeot_ion/

6
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: errr..

exactly. The code share is much more than just Mitsubishi + Citroen.

Citroen + Peugeot also code share with Toyota with their very small petrol car (107, C1, Aygo respectively)

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: errr..

Yes, it's the exact same car.

I recently drove the in-laws from London to Windsor and back in an '11-plate rented i-Miev (Hertz 24/7 have a couple of them). The silence is golden at low speed, but there's a considerable amount of road noise above 35mph. Contrary to the article, I found the handling to be fairly poor. For my own money I'd rather have a hybrid: you get the same silence at low speed, the same handy automatic gearbox for town driving, and of course the reassuring backup of a petrol engine.

4
0

Price of Electricity

One concern for me about the economics of the electric car is the increasing price of electricity. How can you estimate charging costs over five or ten years, even if you have a good idea of the mileage you'll be doing?

I recognise that petrol costs are also variable.

7
0
Silver badge

Re: Price of Electricity

I'd be more worried by the price of subsidies.

Every time someone buys one of these, Joe Public gets shaken down for hundreds of dollars/quid of extra taxes.

3
0
Silver badge

Re: Price of Electricity

I'd say petrol costs are vastly more concerning. It only takes a whiff of regional instability (e.g. what's happening in Iraq right now) for the price to be hiked up. And over the long term the price always goes up.

I think it's crazy for electric cars to have so many batteries in them. It would be better for a hybrid that can do an average commute but can kick over to something else if the battery runs down - hydrogen, ethanol and diesel are all potentially renewable.

Or even an aluminium / air battery which can't be recharged but does provide a large range so someone won't be stranded if they exceed their conventional range.

0
0
Joke

C-Zero

Ive figured out the meaning of the name: See nothing - as it always has to be plugged in to charge!

5
4

Nope

Electric cars just aren't there yet. The batteries need to be cheaper, pack way more power (for range) and charge much, much faster. Until then, they will be nothing but a niche market.

11
1
Bronze badge
Thumb Up

Re: Nope

Hybrids are pretty good, though.

1
0
Bronze badge

Re: Nope

Especially the one that uses a small petrol to charge the battery for an all electric drive (the vauxhall ampera/Chevy volt?). Seems like the best idea so far, as it has no need for a gearbox, and the petrol runs at a constant (efficient) speed. Electric motors make a lot more sense for cars than petrol engines.

9
0
Thumb Up

Re: Nope

Or even better than a reciprocating petrol/diesel engine - why not something that is designed for constant speed efficiency and only uses a simple rotary motion (no, not a Mazda/Wankel). I'm referring to a gas turbine of course. Those aircraft guys know a thing or two about efficiency.

2
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Electric cars just aren't there yet.

I agree, they're not, but we have to get through this phase so they do get there. Digital cameras "weren't there" for years and for a while, people paid 2 million yen for a 1.3 megapixel Canon digital SLR. Compared to a film SLR, it was rubbish and massively expensive, but it had to happen to get us to where we are now, where most people own a digital camera.

4
1

Re: Nope

Yeah but when they're really small they're not that efficient, in thermal terms. They're also expensive to build and maintain, require expensive materials as the average temp at the back is soooo much higher and are still very thirsty. Not to mention it'll easily drown out the noisiest boy racer Corsa driver who has drilled a hole in his exhaust.

GTs are extremely power dense, and therefore fine for when you want an insane amount of power from something that doesn't take up much space or weigh very much - thus for land based vehicles they really don't make sense - you're much better off with a diesel running at it's optimum driving a generator, if you're after maximum efficiency with minimal losses... Unless of course you're trying for land speed records.

But don't let me stop you wanting a jet car. I do too!

4
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Nope

Gas turbines tend to be not so quiet. So no.

Vehicles that use them are helicopters and airplanes. Even a helicopter, before turning their blades at reasonably speed, can be heard for miles, due to the gas turbines. Search videos of the Bell Huey H1 taking off (the Vietnam chopper, for reference) and see what I mean. Modern choppers are not too far behind either. And you don't want that high-pitched whine of something rotating at god knows how much rpm, that would need severe gear reduction, pretty much like what choppers must do today anyway. That jet bike uses an helicopter turbine too, and sounds like a F-16 on takeoff.

Efficiency? Neither. They present power-to-weight ratio instead, which mean they can deliver outstanding performance in a tiny, light package. Like a soda can sized turbine can propel a scooter at an idiotic 100mph. That kind of performance is great on something that should fly, but it tends to be a gas guzzler. Apparently choppers burn 35 liters of Jet A fuel per hour. They are not efficient, so much in fact that high-bypass turbines were invented to improve fuel efficiency.

But Wankel engines, on the other hand, can reach up to 7000 rpm easily (I'm not sure, ask Mazda, please?), so do electric motors/generators, and I believe both would work nice together.

2
0
Bronze badge

Re: Electric cars just aren't there yet.

Yep, but I don't remember the taxpayers subsidising early digital cameras in the way we're expected to for electric cars.

2
0

Re: Electric cars just aren't there yet.

Batteries and electric motors have both been under development for over a century, we're way way past the 'easy win' phase of development hence it's difficult to see electric cars in anything like their current form making much progress.

3
0

Re: Nope

Or the armor guys. The only land vehicle in mass production that I know of using a turbine is a tank - the Abrams.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Nope

Gas turbines (turboshafts) aren't particularly efficient. What they do achieve is to pack a lot of output into a small package and on an aircraft that's more important than overall efficiency.

A single-speed fixed output reciprocating engine runs very efficiently and doesn't need most of the mountains of gubbins attached to automotive engines (which are all there to ensure the thing can work at a huge range of speeds and pwer outputs).

Turbines and piston engines both only work at maximum efficency at very close full power/full load.

Toyota's just blueskied a crankshaftless engine which outputs about 10kW and is tiny. If you need more output, just add more modules - the advantage is that you only need to start each cylkinder when it's actually needed.

1
0
Bronze badge

Re: Nope

Aircraft can trade weight against efficiency. Road vehicles can tolerate more weight, but I remember that the gas turbine cars (Rover UK) and US trucks of the 60s sunk without trace.

BTW, what happened to the micro gas turbine to power my mobi?

0
0

Re: Nope

Turbine engines are very clean burning, though!

Wrightbus looked into diesel turbines for city-based buses that don't have to go fast. They said the emissions were great, but the fuel efficiency was about the same as a normal diesel engine and with crap torque/power (can't remember which).

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Electric cars just aren't there yet.

A lot of people don't realise that electric cars were around before diesel and petrol cars were invented. They were at their most popular when they were competing with steam and horse powered vehicles.

0
0
Bronze badge
Stop

correction needed

Please correct "road fund tax"; this term has been wrong since 1937. I'm sure the author didn't mean it maliciously, but terms like this and "road tax" are misused by those who wish to bully non-motorized users off the roads. "Car tax" is acceptable (but "VED" is the correct term).

7
0

Re: correction needed

While i agree that VED is the correct term for it "Road Tax" can also be correctly applied as it is a "Tax to be able to use the road" - i.e. without it you are not allowed to use the roads...

MOT and insurance could also be called "Road Taxes" as you have to pay them to go in the road and they are just another way to get money to use something - Why are there so many "taxes" on driving? Petrol, MOT, VED, Insurance, Fuel Duty, VAT... Maybe they should scrap the lot and have one simple "Road Tax" that is "the charge for using roads"...

(looks like this turned into a bit of a rant at the powers that be - sorry about that!)

5
6
Silver badge

@Russell Hancock Re: correction needed

The MoT has a (government mandated) maximum cost of about £50 for an 'average' car and many test centres will do it for less than this. That is cheap for what they do and the government doesn't get a penny of this money, so it's not a tax. Insurance .... meh.

2
0

Re: correction needed

and did you really write "Tescos" ?

1
0
Bronze badge

Re: correction needed

I'd prefer it if all the tax was on petrol/diesel and nothing else (i.e. no 'road tax'). If you own a Hummer but only drive it 100 miles a year, you are doing less damage to the roads and environment than a diesel/electric doing 10,000 miles a year. So the amount of fuel you use is directly proportional to the amount of tax you should pay. Until we all drive electrics, then they'll have to tax something else (they'll still want the tax, after all).

0
0
Silver badge

What?

"There is 1,120kg to haul around, which is par for the small car course."

Small? My Mini Cooper S (original type) weighs 715 kg kerbside, now that's small.

That Citroen is like all the other "small" cars presently produced. A big fat dumpling.

9
0
Silver badge

Re: What?

Have you seen the "new" Mini Countryman? I've seen smaller Jeeps.

13
0
Silver badge

Re: What? (Re classic Mini)

Go crash both into a wall or telegraph pole (or cow) at 40mph and see which one you walk away from.

Then try that again at 70mph and see which one you *still* walk away from, and which one requires several refuse sacks to collect you.

If the risk is worth it, all power to you though, nice to see there are still some people who give a toss about good cars, no matter how old they are.

That said, 1160kg is not awfully bad for a small car full stop these days (try to find anything under a ton these days?), never mind an electric one. I'll stick with my fourteen year old 1050kg*, 115lb/ft**, 125bhp** snot-hatch for now though; I think late 90s cars danced the line of weight/safey pretty well. That, and I'm skint.

Incidentally, the torque comparator between the Elise/exige and the C-Zero is a bit of a misnomer - the VVTi lump may make the same amount of torque, but it makes triple the horsepower too; if you had said it had the torque of a 1.8 petrol Focus or similar, that'd have been more apt a comparison as that's a perfectly nippy car in terms of torque, and a good benchmark for about-town nippiness. If you get into a C-zero expecting overt peppiness, I think you'll be disappointed once you get beyond 30mph.

Steven R

*less now thanks to Fords unique, weight saving measures. You know, rust.

**Less now thanks to 125,000 miles, the last 20,000 of which have been done hard...still headbutts the revlimiter with aplomb and crackles on the overrun though!

3
4
Silver badge

Re: What?

And how much would your mini weigh if it had to get a 4 or 5 star NCAP rating? Its not exactly Apples and Oranges is it.

That said I wonder if there is mileage in the thought of a seperate test for electrics given their weight distribution and the need to bias them towards low weight.

2
1
Silver badge

@dogged Re: What?

That's because the new Mini countryman shares a platform with the BMW X1, which is indeed bigger than most jeeps.

2
0
Silver badge
Meh

Re: What? (Re classic Mini)

Go crash both into a wall or telegraph pole (or cow) at 40mph and see which one you walk away from.

Then try that again at 70mph and see which one you *still* walk away from, and which one requires several refuse sacks to collect you.

Or, y'know, don't crash into things.

12
2
Silver badge

Re: What?

"Have you seen the "new" Mini Countryman? I've seen smaller Jeeps."

Yes I have. That's why I posted that my "original" Mini is small. I wasn't talking about the "new" one, those great lumps dwarf my car.

3
0
Bronze badge

Re: What?

Indeed, the footprint of a new Mini (the normal one, not the 4x4 or Clubman) is bigger than a Land Rover Defender 90!

2
0
Silver badge

Re: What? (Re classic Mini)

Dogged - well done ;-) but me not crashing into things won't stop other people crashing into me.

The safest driver in the world can't stop a pissed up moron crossing the centre line on a blind corner...

3
1
Silver badge

@Steven Raith

All I'm seeing here are arguments for banning cyclists or indeed anything that isn't a late 1980s Volvo.

5
1
Vic
Silver badge

Re: What? (Re classic Mini)

The safest driver in the world can't stop a pissed up moron crossing the centre line on a blind corner...

No, but strict adherence to the Roadcraft rule will prevent you trying to occupy the same spot at the same time.

Go buy the book - it *will* save you at least one accident.

Vic.

3
0

Re: What?

The C-Zero scored a 4 on the NCAP tests, like the Nissan LEAF.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: What?

" My Mini Cooper S (original type) weighs 715 kg kerbside, now that's small."

It will also crunch up like wet cardboard if hit from behind and like slightly stronger cardboard in a head-on/side on crash.

There's a reason for the extra weight in modenr cars and ain the case of this car at least 400kg of the mass is battery.

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: What?

Maybe, but you are still hawling around 715kg of dead weight to move your body about.

1
1

£8k for a car with 42km on the clock? Now... that is very tempting... (and the cost these basic transport units should cost)

shame I can't claim any work expenses on an electric, or else I could run that and keep a quattroporte for the school run...

0
0
Silver badge

Is the author sure that that 5-year-old car with 42km on the clock isn't dealer shorthand for 42K miles, which makes the depreciation closer to 60p/mile? Still nasty, but somewhat more realistic.

1
0
Bronze badge

Thoughts

1) Legislation is coming in to stipulate that electric cars must make a car-like noise, which is a huge shame as a lot of the appeal is their quietness. No. People should learn to look where they are going.

2) Why do they have to make them so ugly? Without an engine, small motors could be placed at each wheel, so then the entire front could be glass*. They could actually look cooler than 'normal' cars if they tried.

3) Standards. The batteries need to be standardised so you can buy them from 3rd parties in 10 years time. That way, you can take advantage of each improvement in battery technology as it comes along. Just need a standard shape, size, working voltage, and charging voltage. Current and capacity should improve as the tech gets better. Just make it modular enough that small cars have 1 or 2, large/sports cars have 3 or 4, and lorries can have 18 or whatever.

*May not be a good idea in the event of an impact (or a stone chip), but they could make them look a lot better than they do now. If they are heart decisions and not head ones, then looking cooler than normal cars is a must, surely.

4
1
Bronze badge
Headmaster

Re: Thoughts

Re: People should learn to look where they are going.

People usually do look where they're going, but they can't look behind at the same time - that's why ears were invented.

5
5
Bronze badge

Re: Thoughts

err, ever heard of the green cross code? Look left, then right, then left again, before crossing the road.

4
2

Re: Thoughts

Brilliant. But what happens when you are walking ALONG the road? Plenty (most) of the roads around here have no pavements and I rely on being able to hear traffic coming to protect myself from it (there's bugger all point relying on them avoiding me!). The same thing, of course, applies to cyclists and other road users who aren't motorised.

1
2
Silver badge

Re: Thoughts

"but they can't look behind at the same time - that's why ears were invented."

So we'd better make push bikes noiser, then?

The unpleasant and pervasive noise of traffic is on the threshold of becoming an avoidable evil, and clowns who like the status quo are working hard to keep cars noisy. Maybe they could have a pedestrian with a red flag walk in front of each electric car, to ensure that the car sticks to a responsible speed and doesn't knock anybody over?

6
1

Re: Thoughts

Maybe you should read the highway code:

==== QUOTE =====

If there is no pavement, keep to the right-hand side of the road so that you can see oncoming traffic. You should take extra care and

be prepared to walk in single file, especially on narrow roads or in poor light

keep close to the side of the road.

================

8
0
Silver badge

@Ledswinger Re: Thoughts

I have plenty of negative things to say about electric cars. Their silence, however, is not something I would complain about.

Besides, an IC car travelling under 30 is virtually silent from the front until it gets quite close. You'll hear the road noise before the engine. Maybe all cars should have some sort of artificial noise-maker fitted to them? Perhaps something that can be activated by the driver...

7
0
Silver badge

Re: @Ledswinger Thoughts

"Their silence, however, is not something I would complain about."

Neither was I!

1
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.

Forums