Peugeot e-208
Peugeot e-208

Peugeot addresses elephant in the room

Peugeot has admitted that most people just aren't that into electric vehicles.

The brand, which has just launched the striking e-208 small hatchback in Europe, says it will only introduce the car locally when buyers begin to warm to EVs.

"Along with other electrified products, we will only (introduce them) when the consumer demand and business case stack up," says Peugeot Cars Australia managing director Ben Farlow.

"Too often electric vehicles are pigeonholed as uninspiring but that's changing and our vehicles are anything but boring. These have every right to sit atop our model ranges as hero and halo models."

The e-208 - with 100kW output, 340km range and price tag to tackle the $47,490 Renault Zoe - shares its platform with the 208 petrol and diesel hatch equivalents, packing the 50kWh battery under the rear floor.

Farlow describes the e-208 as an example of Peugeot helping to make the future "unboring" with its full electric and plug-in hybrid versions.

"We see PHEV and EV as key pillars for our strategy to win in Australia in the future," he says.

"When we do introduce them to the line-up it will be for the long-term, not a short-term flash-in-the-pan."

Rivals such as Hyundai and Nissan already have full electric vehicles on sale here, bolstered by strong sales volume of combustion-engine vehicles. Hyundai is the country's second best-selling brand and Nissan is seventh - Peugeot is in 27th spot.

"Our focus is on rebuilding the (Peugeot) brand and product portfolio," says Farlow.

For now that means "delivering vehicles that Australian buyers need and desire, while responding quickly to future trends such as EV and PHEV.

"We, along with our colleagues in France, are ready to pounce when demand and conditions are right."

Seems they're right in Europe, as a plug-in hybrid 3008 SUV - with 58km pure electric range and 1.3L/100km fuel economy - goes on sale there next month. In all-wheel drive GT spec, it claims combined output of 224kW.

It's tipped to go on sale in New Zealand late next year, alongside hybrid 508 sedans and wagons, but isn't confirmed for Australia.

The 3008 GT PHEV is "the sort of product that would get Australians excited around PHEVs and EVs," Farlow says.

Globally, Peugeot says its entire car range will be available with some form of electrification by 2025.

Is Australia ready for them? Not quite yet, evidently, but Peugeot's local HQ is primed to act quickly when the day comes.

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