Peugeot-Citroen unveils pure-electric VELV commuter concept

Renault Twizy better watch its back...

By Farah Alkhalisi on October 10, 2011 4:29 PM

PSA Peugeot-Citroen could be preparing to take on the Renault Twizy – last week, a commuter concept called VELV (Véhicule Électrique Léger de Ville, or lightweight urban vehicle) was unveiled at the ADEME forum, a one-day event in Paris organised by the French Environment and Energy Management Agency.

Like Vauxhall/Opel's RAKe and the KTM E3W concept, the VELV is a microcar part-way between a motorbike and a city car (Peugeot has a scooter-making division, don't forget, which no doubt played a significant role in the development of this concept). It's effectively a three-wheeler – there's a double wheel at the rear – and PSA claims it'll seat three in a 1+2 formation in its tiny tuk-tuk-style cabin, which is accessed via scissor-opening doors. Its 20kW all-electric powertrain features Michelin-supplied in-wheel motors, giving a top speed of 110kph, and the VELV's lithium-ion batteries give a range of up to 100km.

The two rear wheels are positioned close to each other, reminiscent of Peugeot's EX1 prototype

As with the Audi urban concept, Volkswagen Nils, Kia POP and indeed, the first-to-market Twizy, the VELV is designed primarily with cramped urban conditions in mind; it has a turning circle of just 7.2m. Yet despite its size and 650kg weight, it meets all current crash safety legislation for passenger cars.

Its tech includes a communications system which identifies charging stations within the reach of remaining battery charge, and its total energy consumption is 85 Wh per km, which means "its environmental footprint is equivalent to that of a train trip,” says PSA. And, according independent reports, the VELV has been developed with a target price of less than 10,000 euros.

The door openings are pretty funky, we have to admit

Its styling has clearly been influenced by that of Peugeot's earlier BB1 city car (2009), but that was a more conventional four-wheeler – in an unusual reversal of usual practice, the later vehicle is wilder and more adventurous than the earlier concept. And it appears to have been developed with some serious intent for production and thought as to what it could do. PSA says that it “is aimed at corporate fleets, traditional rental companies and self-service schemes like Autolib, second-car buyers and numerous customers who want a better option for getting around town.”

Add to that list Peugeot's own Mu mobility management scheme, currently being rolled out across Europe and the UK, which gives members access to a wide variety of vehicles on loan on a 'points' system.

Check out this video walkaround of the VELV: