Peugeot was aiming for a versatile, compact and maneuverable vehicle when it set in motion its plans to create the BB1 electric concept car, which has been unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Boasting to have an electric range of 75 miles, the BB1 electric car has two doors and four seats and is 2.5 meters long.
Similar to how riders sit at a motorbike, the four adults sit tandem fashion, with the rear seat occupants' legs wrapping around the torso of the front passengers.
The riders also adopt the posture of bike riders, their seats providing no more than vestigial backrests, this packaging being the key to the Peugeot's provision of four seats.
The driver steers using a pair of handlebars, which rotates through 40 degrees each way for a very compact seven-meter turning circle. Propelling the BB1 car are two rear-mounted in-wheel electric motors co-developed with tiremaker Michelin, which has been working on this technology for some years.
Each motor develops 20bhp peak power, but more significantly, 236lb ft at each wheel. Designer Yann Pissonier, who has driven the prototype, describes BB1's acceleration as 'vivacious'. Currently, top speed is 56mph and range is 75 miles from its under-seat lithium-ion batteries. However, this can still improve.
A Peugeot spokesman described the project as very serious, possibly hinting at production. He also described the BB1 as near to qualifying as a quadricycle, and said that it will need a new homologation classification.
Clearly, Peugeot's motorbike division has played a key role in the concept's development, its tubular steel understructure similar to a motorbike's. It has a weight of 550kg due to its carbonfiber body.
The price is roughly estimated to be half the price of the Mitsubishi-based Peugeot Ion, at 15,000 euros. Those who have sat in the BB1 were impressed, citing its 'bike seating position and the impression of space, which is partly due to the glass roof and the compactness of its saddle-like seats.