Peugeot was aiming for a versatile, compact and maneuverable vehicle when it set in motion its plans to create the Peugeot BB1 electric concept car, which has been unveiled at the 63rd edition of the Frankfurt Motor Show (2009).
Boasting to have an electric range of around 75 miles, the mew Peugeot BB1 electric concept has two doors and four seats. It also measures 2.5 meters in length. 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. Because of this setup, 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 the Peugeot BB1 electric concept using a pair of handlebars, which rotates through 40 degrees each way for a very compact seven-meter turning circle.
Propelling the Peugeot BB1 electric 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 of the new Peugeot BB1 concept develops up to 20 bhp (15 kW) of output, or 7.5 kW per motor. But more significantly, each motor provides up to 236 lb ft of torque at each wheel. Designer Yann Pissonier, who has driven the prototype, describes BB1's acceleration as 'vivacious'. The concept car can sprint from zero to 30 km/h in just 2.8 seconds, as well as a dash from 30 km/h to 60 km/h in just 4 seconds.
Currently, the top speed of the Peugeot BB1 electric concept is around 56 mph, and its range is pegged at 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 550 kg due to its carbon fiber body.
The price is roughly estimated to be half the price of the Mitsubishi-based Peugeot Ion, at EUR 15,000. Those who have sat in the Peugeot BB1 electric concept 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.