Citroen to boost demand for electric cars using leasing programs

Article by Christian Andrei, on September 8, 2010

To boost the demand for electric cars, Citroen is offering leasing programs that include gasoline loaners for trips that exceed the reach of a single battery charge. Citroen spokeswoman Valerie Gillot said that the new leasing plan will be available for those who buy the C-Zero electric city car or combustion-engine models.

This plan builds on the flexible Mu contract that sister brand Peugeot started offering last February. This provided occasional access to other vehicles.

In an interview at a test-drive event outside Paris for the iOn, Peugeot's equivalent of the C-Zero, PSA/Peugeot-Citroen Product Director Vincent Besson said that leasing “makes the most sense” since with electric cars, consumers are compelled to think about running costs instead of sticker price, “the way company fleet managers already do.”

Gillot revealed that the leasing offer is intended for consumers whose daily driving needs can be accomplished with a single charge but may occasionally go on longer trips. Gillot didn’t provide program details or the conditions required for C-Zero customers to switch to gasoline or diesel alternatives for travels that exceed the car’s range of 150-kilometer (93-mile) range.

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. produces the iOn and C-Zero (based its i-Miev battery-powered car) for PSA. For next year, Citroen plans to deliver 7,000 units of the iOn and C-Zero, with sales increasing to 30,000 units each year by 2015.

By that date, PSA has entered a production deal of 100,000 units with Mitsubishi. Philippe Barriac, head of the iOn program, said that this figure is what was reserved but that if necessary, this can be increased. He added that Citroen and Mitsubishi will evenly split the 80 million-euro ($103 million) cost of developing the Peugeot Citroen models and the European version of the i-Miev. [via autonews - sub. required]

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