New BEV and PHEV models to lead Peugeot New Zealand’s charge
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Peugeot, the leonine French car brand, has long been something of a bouncing ball on the New Zealand new vehicle sales charts. Back in the mid-1990s, it was the best-selling European automotive brand in this country before spinning out in the ’20s, mostly because it was hampered by powertrain choices that didn’t meet historic Kiwi tastes for more of everything.
Come the 2020s, it appears that Peugeot is now well positioned in terms of its powertrain selections here. Kiwi car buyers are rapidly acquiring a taste for new Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs), following the $8625 government rebate.
Peugeot has two aspirational BEVs in the form of the $59,990 e-208 GT premium hatch and the equally well-furnished $69,990 e-2008 compact SUV.
Both are about to touch down here as forward orders for entire MY2021 allocation of 100 of these vehicles for this market get filled. Both qualify for the maximum rebate under the Clean Car Discount and will soon be joined by an expanded range of Peugeot Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) that are eligible for a $5750 rebate.
Next year will see the New Zealand release of PHEV versions of the 308 hatch, 508 sedan and wagon, and 3008 SUV, the latter available in both 4WD and 2WD. All are capable of around 50km on EV power alone, before switching to their ICEs.
Capping the PHEV range will be two high-performance Peugeot Sport versions of the 508 sedan and 508 estate/wagon pumping out 265kW and 520Nm. Despite the ability to rip up the 0-100km/h sprint in a time comparable to an old-school V8, these special 508s from the performance emporium on the northern outskirts of Paris will still be capable of roaming 48km on their electric motors alone.
In the second half of 2022, Peugeot will really up the ante on the battery-powered light commercial vehicle front with the debut of the mid-sized e-Expert and smaller e-Partner vans. Both will have payloads (e-E: 1226kg; e-P: 800kg) and daily operating ranges (e-E: 330km; e-P: 245km) that will make them workable vehicles for businesses keen to be seen doing "the right thing".
“It will be our strongest model line-up ever in 2022,” says Auto Distributors NZ chief executive, Chris Brown, his confidence that Peugeot is about hit this market with the right models at the right time obvious. Brown has a history of shepherding the French automotive brand through less promising times, having led the marketing team of Peugeot Automotive Australia in the 2000s. His LinkedIn profile describes him as "a leader of turnarounds".
That title will have an extra element of truth if Peugeot’s ambitious electric vehicle-based business plan for NZ comes to fruition.
Next year, 1100 new electrified Peugeots will land locally, and 70 per cent of that number will be BEVs like the e-208GT and e-2008. That’s a huge step up from the 100 units to be distributed this year, and it seems we have the government rebate scheme to thank for the increase.
“As soon as the factory heard that the government had bought in the discounts, NZ suddenly had a new priority when it came to the allocation of production numbers.”
So what are the e-208GT and e-2008 like? They both exude personality and style from the first encounter, Peugeot’s "3D cockpit" and sporty cabin trim setting them apart and making other BEVs available at these price points look a little plain and utilitarian. Both come with a 50kWh battery, and the lighter, more aerodynamic GT can make its stored energy go a little further. Stated operating ranges for the two Peugeot BEVs are 340km and 320km respectively. Both possess a 7.4kW onboard charger, enabling recharging to 80 per cent in a 30-minute fast charge. Peugeot will offer an 11.4kW onboard charger as an option next year.
The sporty personalities of both carries over to the driving experience. There are three driving modes – Eco, Normal, and Sport – and the latter blesses both with instant acceleration that’ll claim any gap in an adjacent motorway lane. True to type, the e-208 GT has suspension that’s set up a little more sportily, and more incisive steering. It’s quite the go-kart compared to the more family-friendly and spacious e-2008.
Both these models are crucial to Brown’s aim of making Peugeot “the cleanest European car brand by the end of 2022.” The release of all the new electrified vehicles next year will allow the entire NZ model range to achieve an overall average of 99gm/km of CO2 emissions.