Electric Peugeots: a plug-in hybrid or pure EV for every model

Published: 24 June 2020

► Peugoet’s path to electrification
► From hybrids to BEVs
► What to expect and when

Peugeot has gone from laggard to one of Europe’s leaders on electrified vehicle technology. The all-new 208 supermini and 2008 compact SUV – the brand’s two big launches for the UK market in 2020 – embody its pledge that every new car or van will have at least one plug-in variant from now on. 

So the 208 and 2008 are both available as pure electric cars – but that’s just the start of the electrification roll-out. CAR can reveal Peugeot’s next steps which include:

• Offering pure electric versions of its bigger cars (308-size and larger)
• Introducing mild hybrid versions of its internal combustion engines to improve their fuel economy
• Building its own battery gigafactories
• Unleashing a range of electrified performance cars engineered by Peugeot Sport

The best electric superminis: Honda E vs Peugeot e-208 vs Mini Electric

The electrification push is designed to help Peugeot reduce the total carbon emissions across its new car sales to less than 95g/km of CO2 on average by the end of this year, and lower as regulations tighten further.

‘All markets are moving very quickly for CO2 reduction and Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) development. The forecast is for plug-in hybrid and pure electric car volumes to grow by a magnitude of 10 between 2018 and 2025,’ says Alexandre Guignard, PSA Groupe’s head of CO2. Guignard has helped plan the platforms (individual car chassis) and powertrains (engines/motors and gearboxes) for this electric era.

Read on to discover:

Electrifying Peugeots: the platform strategy develops

Peugeot (like its stablemates Citroën and DS Automobiles, and Vauxhall in future) uses two platforms, CMP for small/midsize cars and EMP2 for bigger cars. CMP underpins cars in the B-segment such as the Peugeot 208, and smaller C-segment models such as the forthcoming Citroën C4. On the larger EMP2 platform sit bigger C-segment models such as the Peugeot 308 (currently available as a 4.6m-long estate), and D-segment vehicles including the 508 fastback and 5008 SUV.

Currently, CMP is available with petrol/diesel internal combustion engines (ICE) or a pure electric drivetrain, a diverse powertrain strategy making for what Peugeot calls ‘multi-energy’ platforms. The bigger EMP2 platform is also available with petrol/diesel combustion engines or plug-in hybrid variants. But that electrified division is about to be blurred, according to head of CO2 Alexandre Guignard. 

‘For the new product in the pipe, in a couple of years we will have on the [EMP2] platform a full Battery Electric Vehicle powertrain. Then the product offer will be ICE, plug-in hybrid or full BEV,’ reveals Alexandre Guignard. ‘But for CMP we stick to ICE or full BEV,’ he adds. 

EMP2 goes pure electric – could the e-Legende coupe follow?

EMP2 going all-electric is a big development, that gives PSA Groupe the chance to bring full-size electric rivals for the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y to market. Peugeot showed the battery-powered e-Legende concept car in 2018, a two-door coupe with 600km of range (373 miles). Measuring 4650mm-long, it was too big for CMP – but EMP2 going pure electric could help Peugeot make it a production reality. 

Similarly Peugeot owner PSA Groupe’s aspiring premium brand, DS Automobiles, has designs on a flagship zero emissions crossover SUV – previewing it with the Active Sport Lounge concept car.

Closer to production is the next generation version of Peugeot’s 308 hatchback, which will again use the EMP2 platform. Peugeot brand chief Jean-Philippe Imparato confirmed this to Automotive News Europe, adding: ‘It will be a plug-in hybrid first, but could perhaps later have a full electric drivetrain.’ We estimate the next 308 will be on the UK market in 2022.

Peugeot’s electrification strategy

Peugeot’s initial strategy has been to introduce pure electric drivetrains on smaller cars, ones typically more biased to urban use, and earmarking plug-in hybrid for bigger cars more likely to travel longer distances. 

Longer range typically demands bigger battery packs, necessitating larger cars that can accommodate the cells and command a higher sticker price to pay back the costly componentry. With PSA Groupe’s brands typically mainstream, that explains why it has electrified small cars first, where big battery packs won’t equate to a compromisingly high list price. 

The group developed the strategy around four years ago, deciding to pool its five brands’ cars and vans on those two platforms, CMP and EMP2. Some car makers – Volkswagen Group with its pure electric MEB platform, Renault which has the electric Zoe supermini in addition to its Clio range – have opted to make bespoke platforms/models for electrified cars. Not Peugeot. 

‘To have a single, full BEV model is a big investment risk,’ argues Alexandre Guignard. ‘We chose to have multi-energy platforms, so every brand has the ability to propose BEV, PHEV (plug-in hybrid) or ICE to meet customer expectation.’

This is the crux of Peugeot’s pragmatic platform strategy: it means simplicity for the customer, so anyone who fancies a 208 or 2008 can have it as a petrol, diesel or electric, without any compromises such as a different bodystyle or reduced interior space.

And it boosts efficiencies for Peugeot’s factories: ICE and BEV cars can be assembled in the same factory, and if demand tails off for a particular engine type, PSA Groupe can ramp up production of a more in-demand variant. 

Coming soon: 48-volt ‘mild’ hybrids to boost fuel economy

Peugeot has prioritised plug-in hybrids with up to 40 miles of pure electric range, but it will also introduce mild hybrids (mHEV) which typically improve fuel economy by 5-10 per cent.

‘Mild hybrid is in our core techno strategy; we will have this proposal in the line-up very quickly,’ says head of CO2 Alexandre Guignard. ‘We need it. We want a portfolio with electrified ICE which means mHEV clearly.’

Companies such as Ford and BMW couple a belt-integrated starter/generator to the engine, which recovers kinetic energy as the car coasts or brakes, acting as a generator to charge a small battery pack. This electric power can in turn be fed into the drivetrain, boosting performance and reducing the load on the combustion engine. With the engine also able to shut off more frequently, and an upgraded 48-volt electrical system powering equipment such as air-con, owners could save around 7 miles to the gallon in a supermini.

New electrified transmissions and a battery factory

Peugeot is working on a slightly different approach, in its joint venture with Punch Powertrain. Their DT2 dual-clutch transmission can incorporate an electric motor to assist the combustion engine. For mild hybrid applications, a low power motor (20kW) will be added, and Punch estimates the system delivers superior fuel savings of up to 15 per cent. A higher power motor (90kW) can be deployed for plug-in hybrid cars with larger battery packs. The transmission will be ready in 2022, though Peugeot is yet to confirm which combustion engines it will be paired with.

The company is involved in another joint venture, with Nidec to develop and manufacture electric motors. But PSA’s most significant cooperation is with Saft, a battery maker owned by French petrolchemicals giant Total. In summer 2021, a pilot plant to develop lithium-ion batteries will be fully operational, with the cells then industrialised in PSA Groupe gigafactories in France and Germany. The goal is to produce 1 million batteries a year by 2030, or 10-15 per cent of European demand. 

Some €1.3bn in funding also comes from France, Germany and the EU, as PSA Groupe seeks to reduce reliance on Chinese, Japanese and Korean suppliers. Over time, the JV should fuse into producing solid state batteries, next-generation battery technology where the electrolyte is not liquid but solid, improving cell energy density and recharging capabilities. 

‘We are working very deeply to set up in this battery technology,’ says Alexandre Guignard. ‘Our strategy is to take control of our powertrain, batteries and EV motors, from engineering to manufacturing.’  

Performance Peugeots: enhanced by electrification

Another key part of Peugeot’s lower carbon future is electrified performance cars. ‘It’s the only way to deliver fast, fun and emissions-compliant cars, says Peugeot chief Jean-Philippe Imparato. ‘There is absolutely no alternative. I want my fun – but below 50g/km of CO2. The solution is electrified, that’s it.’ 

Peugeot has shown a Peugeot Sport Engineered vision of a 508, which comes to the UK in late 2020. The plug-in hybrid runs a 200bhp version of Peugeot’s 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine, working in tandem with an electric motor to turn the front axle. There’s a second motor spinning the rear axle, for all-wheel drive and a total system output topping 350bhp. 

The Peugeot Sport range will grow, to include a 3008 fast SUV, an all-electric successor to the 208 GTI, and more. At the same time Peugeot is having to remove ‘bad actors’ from its range: vehicles with high CO2 emissions that skew the company’s fleet average upwards. That’s why the next 208 GTI won’t be a small, light, high performance petrol car, but an all-electric 208 Peugeot Sport model instead.

Electrified Peugeots in 2020: your handy guide

Peugeot e-208

  • Zero emissions supermini with 50kWh battery pack was crowned Europe’s Car of the Year 2020, and offers lashings of style and technology plus a high-quality cockpit.
  • Priced from: £25,715 (including £3000 subsidy)
  • Electric range: up to 217 miles
  • CO2: 0g/km
  • 7kW wallbox charge time: 7hrs 30mins
  • Read our Peugeot e-208 review

Peugeot e-2008

  • Same 50kWh battery pack and 136hp motor, but the SUV bodystyle provides a raised ride height and more cabin space.
  • Priced from: £28,665 (including £3000 subsidy)
  • Electric range: up to 206 miles
  • CO2: 0g/km
  • 7kW wallbox charge time: 7hrs 30mins

Peugeot 3008 Hybrid

  • Mid-size SUV is available with two plug-in hybrid options, a 225hp front-wheel drive model, and a 300hp all-wheel drive model 
  • Priced from: £36,600
  • Electric range: 34-40 miles
  • MPG: 157mpg (WLTP high test cycle)
  • CO2: from 29g/km
  • 7kW wallbox charge time: >2hrs

Peugeot 508 Hybrid

  • Handsome fastback and estate gets the 225hp front-wheel drive hybrid option, though the 350hp Peugeot Sport model is coming 
  • Priced from: £34,945
  • Electric range: 33-39 miles
  • MPG: 166mpg (WLTP high test cycle)
  • CO2: from 29g/km
  • 7kW wallbox charge time: 1hr 45mins
  • Read our Peugeot 508 HYbrid review

Peugeot e-Traveller

  • The passenger-carrying version of the Traveller van gets five or eight seats, a 50kWh battery pack and lands in the UK in late 2020
  • Priced from: n/a
  • Pure electric range: 143 miles
  • CO2: 0g/km
  • 7kW wallbox charge time: 7hr 30mins

By Phil McNamara

Editor-in-chief of CAR magazine