The next few year’s will see a plethora of new electric cars launched in the UK, especially in the super-mini sector. First off the mark in the battle of the new small EV’s, is the Peugeot 208, which we got to drive in Portugal recently.
Peugeot have made, in our opinion, the wise decision to make the e-208 look just like a normal 208. And, as the latest 208 is a seriously cute 205-GTI-throwback, that is a very good thing indeed. Renault’s Zoe & Nissan’s Leaf have been around for a while, but neither could be described as sexy. The same could be said of the Hyundai Kona EV & sister model the KIA e-Niro, so alongside sister- model the Vauxhall Corsa-e, which will also arrive in 2020, the e-208 will offer EV car customers the opportunity to buy a great looking small car.
The all-new 208 is the first vehicle to fulfil Peugeot’s new philosophy of the power of choice i.e. ‘choose your PEUGEOT, choose your powertrain’. We really liked both the petrol & diesel variants we tested, which are available in Active, Allure & GT Line trim levels. The zero-emission e-208 is also available in all three trims, plus the range-topping GT.
The e-208 uses a 50kWh battery & 136hp electric motor to provide a 211 mile range from a full charge under WLTP testing. It comes with a Mode 3 Type 2 cable as standard, which will charge the vehicle in 7.5 hours with a 7kW charging point. Peugeot customers can also download the MyPeugeot app, which will allow them to manage their vehicle charge remotely, precondition the temperature of the vehicle & receive ‘e-Coaching’ on how to benefit most from their vehicle. There’s more good news for customer’s, as the e-208 will be priced from £25,050* in Active trim, making it one of the cheapest ways into an electric car.
Electric it may be, but Peugeot still want to offer customer’s a choice of driving modes, so the e-208 has three; Eco, to optimise range, Normal, optimising comfort & Sport, allowing the driver to prioritise performance. Reassuringly, the battery is covered by an 8 year, 100,000 mile manufacturer warranty.
As with other electric cars, battery regeneration is available with braking modes. Moderate, which offer’s a sensation close to that felt when braking with a combustion engine or Augmented, for controlled deceleration by means of the accelerator pedal. Both are easy to use & don’t hinder the car’s enjoyment.
Lot’s of hybrid & EV models suffer from a loss of interior space, especially in the boot. To get around this, Peugeot has their battery evenly distributed under the floor plan, so the e-208 offers the same interior space & boot space as the 208 petrol & diesel versions.
More good news is charging speed. The e-208 set’s the standard for rapid charging in the small-car class. Plug into a CCS 100kW rapid charger and it’ll deliver 100 miles of range in around 20 minutes, which no comparable rival other than the Corsa-e can offer, while a 50kW charger will do the same in 40 minutes.
The e-208 feature’s the PEUGEOT 3D i-Cockpit, Peugeot’s compact multifunction steering wheel, configurable head-up display, capacitive 7” or 10″ HD colour touchscreen (according to version) & Peugeot’s seven, satin chrome, ‘piano’, toggle switches. Technological aids provided, include TomTom® Traffic, Connected 3D Navigation & Peugeot Mirror Screen functionality, compatible with MirrorLink, Apple CarPlay & Android Auto connectivity.
As we mentioned earlier, the e-208 is the only 208 model offered in GT trim. This level is enhanced with Alcantara grey upholstery featuring a 3D technical mesh knit & 17′ alloy wheels with special inserts. There’s also a body colour-coded radiator grill, e-208 badge & Dichroic Lions on the car . This means that the Lions appear to change colour as a function dependant of the angle of view.
All 208’s feature narrow front headlights, a dominant front grille, Peugeot’s lion logo, the 208 model number above, harking back to the classic 504 & there are two vertical LED light clusters. The flanks are smooth & clutter free with large wheel arches giving the car some gravitas. The rear is dominated by the Peugeot horizontal gloss black rear cluster strip, incorporating the Peugeot lettering, that stretches across the back of the car, with the Peugeot lion claw rear headlights at either end.
Safety & security are both to the fore on 208. ABS, EBD, & EBA are standard across the range, as are adaptive driver & front passenger airbags, front & rear curtain airbags alarm, deadlocking, an electronic code immobiliser & ESP with Hill Start Assist. Peugeot’s Connect SOS & Assistance also comes as standard.
For comfort & convenience, all model’s feature a push button start, Bluetooth, DAB, Mirror Screen for Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, a 6 speaker radio & a 12v socket. Outside, all version’s come with body coloured door handles & auto headlights which are also ‘ follow me home.’
To support its customers in the energy transition, from fossil fuel to electric, PEUGEOT is launching a new service based on three keystones: Firstly, Easy Charge or how to facilitate access to the different charging solutions for customers: Secondly, Easy-Move or how to ensure the mobility of customers in all circumstances. And thirdly, Serenity, or how to reassure customers in their discovery process & let them enjoy their car in complete peace of mind. This may seem a little over the top, but plainly Peugeot have put an awful lot of time & effort into how they can help customers get into an electric car, with the least amount of hassle & for that they have to be commended.
Interestingly, in Portugal at the 208 media launch, Peugeot invited question’s from the assembled motoring press & these were dominated by inquiries about the e-208. The following morning we finally had the chance to drive the e-208 & we were not disappointed.
Step inside the cab & you are greeted by an on-trend interior, dominated by Peugeot’s I-Cockpit & infotainment screen in the centre of the dash. Out & about on a selection of local roads the e-208 offer’s decent acceleration, with a 0-62mph time of 8.1 seconds, going on to reach atop speed of 94mph. Perhaps it’s the silence that does it, but it feels quicker & put’s a broad smile across your face, especially that instant pull that electric cars specialise in.
Electric it maybe, but the e-208 comes with a choice of three driving modes. Eco, which slow’s everything down & is perfect for the motorway. Moderate, which gives you a bit more get up & go, useful in urban traffic & Sport, which sharpens up the throttle response & the steering, making it the most enjoyable to choose on winding, undulating roads.
The weight of the battery make’s all electric cars & vans, a lot heavier than a petrol or diesel version, but in the case of the e-208, the extra weight, doesn’t hamper the experience.The light regenerative braking is well balanced, only slowing you down when you select ‘B’ in the selector to increase the force & a real plus is that you can’t feel the heavy battery in the e-208 like you can in many EV & hybrid offerings.
On a well maintained roads the e-208 travels in total silence. However, when we encountered a road which wasn’t well maintained, the vibrations through the 17″ alloy wheels were much in evidence. We were driving at the time in Sport mode & assumed wrongly, that this was why the ride had hardened & become louder. We selected the Moderate driving option & then Eco, but the tyre noise & lumpy ride remained. This though, really was all we could find to criticise when driving the electric 208.
For fleet managers & company car driver’s alike, the really good news is the huge discounts running an electric car will bring. The e-208 comes with a 2019/20 BIK of just 16% on all of the range, a full 10% less than the diesel 208 & you’ll pay nothing, yes nothing in company car tax in tax year 2020/21. You also get the government grant, currently £3,500, off the car’s asking price, as the e-208 qualifies in Category one for the subsidy.
If this is tickling your fancy, we’d strongly suggest that you get at least a 7kWh home charger, so you can top up at your leisure. We have a Rolec 7kWh charger at the office & it really takes the hassle out of owning an electric vehicle. Drive, return, plug-in, repeat.
When we arrived in Portugal, we didn’t quite know what to expect from Peugeot’s new electric car. Despite that uneven ride, no provision for cable storage in the boot, which some may bemoan & a range of 211 miles – the latest Renault Zoe will power onto 245 miles- the e-208 is now our favourite small EV. It’s a far more exciting, classy & enjoyable car, both inside & out than the Renault, as well as all of the current competition. If you’re looking for a small electric car, then the e-208 comes highly recommended.
A Sesimbra 4.5/5
Price. £25,050 – £29,650
Powertrain. Single-motor, front-wheel drive.
Range. 211 miles WLTP.
Company Car Tax for 2020/21. Lower rate 20%. £0. Higher rate 40%. £0.
100kW fast charge (20-80%) 20 minutes.
7kW home charge (0-100%) 8 hours.