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Citroen has plans to enter the mass-market entry-level EV segment with eCC21 which is expected to be launched in 2022
French automaker Groupe PSA is all set to enter into the Indian market through its brand Citroen. The company has already started testing its first product in India- the premium mid-size SUV C5 Aircross. The flagship product of the Citroen is being assembled at CK Birla Group’s facility in Thiruvallur in Tamil Nadu.
Apart from conventional fuel-powered vehicles, Citroen also has plans to enter into the electric vehicle (EV) segment in India with a small electric car for the mass market, priced at around Rs 8 lakh. Internally codenamed as eCC21, this electric car is expected to be launched somewhere around 2022. It will be a mini crossover UV.
New Citroen Electric Car India launch will be around the same time when Hyundai brings its first electric car to India. Other manufacturers like Mahindra, Renault, Tata and Maruti Suzuki are eyeing this segment of a mass-market electric car. Mahindra’s eKUV100, Renault’s Kwid EV and Maruti Suzuki’s WagonR Electric, Tata HBX EV all are currently in the developmental phase.
WagonR EV has also been spotted testing on roads and was initially supposed to launch this year. However, things didn’t materialize as planned. There are reports that Tata Motors too is developing an entry-level EV in line of its upcoming small UV HBX. With all these major players vying for the entry-level EV segment, it is sure to pave the path for future EVs in India.
Other upcoming products of Citroen
Citroen has set itself a modest sales target of 3,000 units per annum for eCC21 in India with a mid-term plan of selling 1 lakh cars. Although before this electric UV, the French carmaker is slated to launch its flagship mid-size SUV- C5 Aircross in early 2021. This will be followed by a subcompact UV CC21– its first locally manufactured product in India, in the festive season next year. The latter too has already been spotted testing recently.
As per reports, the CC21 will be based on a flexi-fuel system. It is said to utilise a 1.2-litre petrol engine. Though being a petrol engine, this motor can run on petrol as well as ethanol blends (from 27% to 100%) – making it India’s first biofuel car. Citroen expects that this small UV will be able to give them the edge of being the first-mover in the flexi-fuel segment in India. CC21 is the first product under Citroen’s ambitious smart car platform internally called the C-Cube program.
What is this C-Cube program?
Citroen C-Cube is a program which has been specifically developed for emerging markets like India. Cars under this program are said to be based on CMP (Common Modular Platform), the same which underpins Peugeot 208, although CMP in India will have a high extent of localisation. The CC21 biofuel and electric versions will be followed by other cars in this program which includes a Kia Sonet / Hyundai Venue rivaling compact sub 4m SUV called CC24 in 2022; and a compact sedan the following year.
Benefits of Ethanol-blended fuel
The manufacturer has been developing a flexi-fuel system for India as the government has been encouraging the industry to adopt biofuels in order to reduce its fuel import bill. Ethanol-mixed petrol not only reduces CO2 emissions but only improves the octane value of the fuel, thus giving a better performance.
As of now, oil companies in India have been able to attain only 5-7 percent ethanol blend. For ethanol blend content up to about 10 percent, no modifications are required in the modern internal combustion engines. However, for blends with higher ethanol content, the engine needs to be re-tuned accordingly.