My first experience of an electric vehicle (EV) came some years ago while attending the launch, dare I say ,of a more conventional vehicle when the PR of the French company invited me to try a small electric powered van. A colleague and myself climbed onboard and I noticed the charge indicator at full; so we set off. My colleague who took the first driving stint observed that the charge indicator was in rapid decline; so I took over the wheel and just as I entered the gates of the hotel where the launch was taking place the little van came to a halt- powerless and we had covered just over eight kilometres (five miles).
Thankfully, there has been a vast improvement in the intervening years, and recently I spent my first full week with an electric car or, as some prefer to say, an EV. The vehicle in question the new Peugeot e 2008 SUV, the second vehicle in a new generation of electric vehicles from the French manufacturer and I must point out that this model range is also available with more conventional power. Previously my opportunity to test such vehicles involved much shorter periods and not really providing the opportunity to deliver a conclusion. Powering the e-2008 is a 136bhp electric motor and a 50kWWh battery and the manufacturer states a range of up to 331km (206m) from a single charge using 100KW rapid charging with an 80% charge taking around thirty minutes. Alas, disappointment for me, the range I achieved at best 218km (136m) and at the lower end a mere 178km (111m) – far short of the official figures. Of course obtaining the best possible range depends largely in the manner the vehicle is being driven and I must say this Peugeot is a bright performer, so the temptation is to drive in a sporty manner manner. So it’s best to be mindful of the range you would like to achieve. You have three drive modes and the Sport mode can whisk you from rest to 100kph (62mph) in under nine seconds.
Styling of the new e 2008 is thoroughly modern and, should I add, very eye catching and like a petrol or diesel powered vehicle I certainly had no complaints re the handling with this Peugeot delivering a high standard of comfort for all. A major feature is the new Peugeot 3D i-Cockpit and, one of my favourites from this manufacturer, a compact multi function steering which reminds me always of being in control of a competition car. Depending on model, there is a seven or ten inch HD capacitive touch screen and on this occasion, my test example was in GT Line trim. As we have now come to expect this newcomer is packed with onboard technology including Peugeot Connect SOS and Assistance, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go function and Lane Positioning Assist and Mirror Screen; for connectivity which is so important to many as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There is more, the Peugeot smartphone app to set deferred charging, check charging status and even set cabin pre-conditioning ready for the off.
Safety and security is very much on par with conventional powered vehicles; however I must caution with an EV comes quietness, so you can enjoy the entertainment on the move but pedestrians, cyclists etc will not detect your approach, so do drive with added caution. Should you not have a home charging facility, worth investing in, therefore it is best to pre plan a lengthy journey and I used the Zip Map app on my mobile phone which not only provided information as to where I could find a charging point, but also if it was in use or out of order. Ideally best to have a charging arrangement from home and to leave your EV on charge overnight ready for what the day brings forth. Rapid chargers can provide an 80% charge in under an hour, while fast chargers can take in the region of four hours. From a domestic home set up, it does take a very long time, hence best to charge overnight. I charged the e 2008 at a public charge point and it took much longer than I had expected. Ideally an EV is best suited to the town/city dweller and is more of a challenge to a person who lives in a rural environment, hence the call for more charging points. Am I about to joint the EV Club; the jury is still out on that; however looking to the future with improved range, shorter charge times and better coverage re public chargers I might just look at joining.