To launch its ë-C3 electric city car from just €23,300, Citroën relied on a design initially intended for emerging markets and based on the low-cost Smart Car platform, developed by Indian Tata. This strategy is similar to that adopted by Renault, whose Dacia Spring is based on the K-ZE model of the Chinese City, which itself derives its origin from the Kwid model of India. However, the European version of the ë-C3 will be produced in Slovakia, allowing it to get the 2024 ecological bonus, unlike its Romanian rival which is produced in China.
The new Citroen C3, which will be sold in Europe at the beginning of 2024, first in an electric version, is therefore taken from another C3, presented in 2021, and produced in India as well as in Brazil. During a visit to Indonesia, where the “Indian” version of the C3 will soon go on sale, we were able to take a few spins at the wheel of its electric version ë-C3. It is enough to give a taste of the electric city car before the first tests of its European version, which has been fully modified to face our market.
A more modern style
The most noticeable difference between the Indian version of the ë-C3 and the model that will be presented in Europe is related to the design. The European model has been completely redesigned to offer a more modern style. It also takes the new logo, but must retain the proportions of the model it is based on. So, the ë-C3 is too high for a city car. The C3 Aircross SUV will however be updated, again based on its Indian version.
While Dacia has kept the interior of the Renault K-ZE City almost identical for Spring, Citroën has completely revamped the interior of its ë-C3 to prepare for its arrival in Europe. However, you shouldn’t expect the material to be any fancier than this Hindi version. The plastic should remain hard, which is not surprising at this level of the series. In addition, the trim covers the dashboard of the European versions and the controls look much smarter.
The European versions of the Citroën ë-C3 receive a more original interior, with a steering wheel monitor, like the Peugeot. The display, however, remains as minimalist.
But the most important development between this model produced in India and the Citroën ë-C3 that will be presented in Europe is not visible. They are particularly concerned about security, which has been strengthened to meet the requirements of European legislation.
Revised technical sheet for more use
The Indian version of the Citroën ë-C3 promises 320 km of autonomy. The same goes for the European model, which however receives a larger battery, from 29.2 kWh to 44 kWh with LFP chemistry. If this difference is not reflected in the declared freedom, it is because the WLTP protocol used in Europe is less lax than the Indian ARAI cycle.
At the wheel of this Indian version, we are pleasantly surprised by the sensations it provides. Indeed, we are far from the soundproofing standards of the European market and the operation is very simple, as is the suspension, but nothing terrible. These last two points are particularly related to the prospects of the Indian market. The ramps, however, are very difficult to control, with a nasty on/off effect during low-speed maneuvers. It remains to be seen if these features will be upgraded to European models.
If our quick low-speed test did not allow us to test the limits of the very small 43 kW (58 hp) engine of this Indian version, we suspect that they are reached very quickly outside of urban areas, at the top speed of high speed. 107 km / h. Fortunately, the European Citroën ë-C3 receives a more powerful electric motor, 83 kW (113 hp), which should make it more versatile than the Dacia Spring. With an enhanced level of safety and a higher capacity LFP battery, the European version of the Citroën ë-C3 should however be heavier than the Indian model’s 1302 kg.
Finally, the accessories offered differ between the Indian model and the European version. Unfortunately, only two trim levels are offered in our region. The first (You) is outdated, while the second (Max) is certainly equipped, but more expensive.