Putting aside the badge-engineered C-Zero, a Mitsubishi i-MiEV, this four-seater is Citroen's first production electric vehicle. As one might guess, it is meant to be more of a halo effort than a high-volume seller.
With a maximum 50-kW (67-horsepower) output and a top speed of only 110 kph (68 miles per hour), it can't reach the highest speed limit in its homeland of 130 kph (81 mph). And, boasting only 200 km (124 miles) of city-driving range, it couldn't make the trip from Paris to the nearest sea-side village without stopping for a charge. For a lot of electrics, a single charging session might not seem like a big deal, but the E-Mehari is super pokey about pumping electrons, with a full eight hours required to fill the 30-kWh lithium metal polymer (LMP) battery from empty.
Its thermoformed plastic bodywork is resilient to rust and small dings (just like the original Méhari), the weather-friendly interior allows for beach sand, sunscreen residue, and other detritus of a leisurely lifestyle to be hosed from its seats and floorboards. The soft, friendly lines of its exterior have a modern feel, though with elements that harken back to the original, which the company produced for 20 years, until 1988.
Curiously, this will not be the only electric vehicle with beach-bound, sans-roof styling built at the PSA Peugeot Citroen plant in Rennes in 2016. The slightly smaller Bolloré Bluesummer, with which the E-Mehari shares its electric drivetrain, is also supposed to launch within the same timeframe. While that EV is expected to mostly be used in car-sharing mobility programs like Autolib (which Bolloré operates), the E-Mehari will be available for general sale. With no dealership presence in the US, however, it is unlikely to make it Stateside. Quel dommage.
The E-MEHARI is a vehicle connected to the history of the brand but with its sights set squarely on the future. It is a wink to an iconic vehicle, the 1968 Méhari, but also far more than that: it is a cheery, all-electric 4-seater cabriolet with modern, fun styling. Through this new stage of its partnership with the Bolloré Group, CITROËN is confirming its ambition to bring to market cheery, optimistic vehicles that are different from the rest.
Stylish, confident, offbeat, and even sassy..... we could use so many words to describe the new model by CITROËN. The E-MEHARI is a bold, vibrant vehicle, very much in tune with the CITROËN spirit. The E-MEHARI is an "it car", designed to appeal to customers looking for an alternative vehicle with a positive outlook on life, attentive to trends and to the environment.
Incomparable, silent and stress-free, the E-MEHARI stands apart as a free spirit in the automotive market!
A UNIQUE PERSONALITY
The exterior design of E-MEHARI reflects CITROËN's positioning. All the brand styling cues are visible, including:
• an expressive gaze with dual headlights, the signature of the CITROËN brand;
• a unique, optimistic design featuring full, warm contours, smooth lines and a smiling front end;
• clean styling, symbolising true, simple pleasures, another way of talking about driveability.
This charismatic personality is accompanied by radical choices in colour. The E-MEHARI offers a wide range of possibilities for personalisation with:
- four body colours: blue, as an invitation to get away from it all, orange to convey a sense of energy and optimism, an invigorating yellow and an elegant beige.
- two roof colours: black and orange-red.
- Two interior trim colours: a natural-looking beige and a high-tech orange-red with a central pattern inspired by water sports. Both are made of plastic-coated fabric and are completely waterproof. This makes the wildest associations possible for all those looking for a colourful, expressive and fun car.
The E-MEHARI features a raised body, with touches of black provided by the wing extenders, lower valance and bumper. A clear nod to the world of leisure and fun.
As a result, the E-MEHARI is a vehicle of fresh, expressive styling that will appeal to buyers looking for a distinctive, attractive car.
AN ORIGINAL MINDSET
The mindset of E-MEHARI reflects that of an iconic CITROËN vehicle, the Méhari, through its looks and character as well as its practical, leisure-oriented side. Like the Méhari, launched in 1968, the E-MEHARI is:
- convertible, with a removable top closed at the side by a foldaway system with large windows. Users can cover the front, the rear, the side or the whole vehicle;
- fitted with four real seats, including a folding rear bench ;
- equipped with a raised chassis for all-terrain driving;
- made with bodywork of thermoformed plastic: a material that is corrosion-free, with maintenance-free paintwork and the elasticity to withstand minor impacts;
- easy to use: it can be hosed all over, both inside and out.
The ribbed door pattern is a nod to the designers of the original Méhari and the undulating lines of the bodywork. Similarly, the exterior colours reflect those present on the launch of the Méhari.
This link with the Méhari, a legendary vehicle that left its mark on its times, gives the E-MEHARI a strong identity. Its distinctive approach will appeal all those looking for authenticity and fun.
A LIBERATING DRIVING EXPERIENCE
Although the E-MEHARI is a vehicle of simple, relaxed design, it nevertheless features advanced technology. It is an all-electric vehicle with battery technology based on the expertise of France's Bolloré Group. With its LMP® (Lithium Metal Polymer) batteries, the E-MEHARI combines a long range with performance, reliability and security.
LMP batteries are recognised for their energy density and safety in use. They are dry batteries (it means "fully solid") giving them many advantages such as not being weather-sensitive. They give the E-MEHARI a top speed of 110 kph with a range of 200 km in the city.
These functional batteries can be fully recharged in eight hours on a 16A socket (domestic station or public stations such as Autolib in France), or in 13 hours on a 10A domestic socket.
As a result, the E-MEHARI conveys a new sense of freedom and relaxation, allying the joys of open-top driving with the acceleration, ease, and silence of an electric vehicle.
Built at the PSA PEUGEOT CITROËN plant in Rennes, the E-MEHARI will launch in France in spring 2016.
The e-Méhari will be showcased in Paris as world premiere from December 9th to 11th, within the Eco Driving Center in the framework of the COP 21, at the PSA Peugeot Citroën's headquarter.