Citroen e-C4 electric: pictures, specs and on-sale date

Electric version of Citroen C4 Cactus replacement unveiled; petrol and diesel versions will also be offered

The all-new Citroen C4 will be offered with petrol and diesel engines, as well as in e-C4 electric guise for the first time. As is the case with many models from the PSA Peugeot Citroen group – including the Peugeot 2008 and DS 3 Crossback – you chose your car first and your powertrain second.

Full details for the all-electric Citroen e-C4 have now been revealed, including battery specifications and predicted range. Like its Peugeot and DS siblings, the Citroen will get a 50kWh battery; the e-C4’s sleek shape results in a maximum range of 217 miles. 

An exact on-sale date for the e-C4 hasn't been confirmed yet, but orders are due to open in the next few months, with first cars on the road by the end of 2020. On-the-road costs have also yet to be confirmed, although the car is likely to be priced within a few hundred pounds of its Peugeot counterpart.

Like other PSA Group electric cars, such as the Peugeot e-208 and Vauxhall Corsa-e, the e-C4 will sit alongside conventional petrol and diesel-engined variants of the all-new C4, which serves as a replacement for the current C4 Cactus. There will, however, not be a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version of the car, to compete with the likes of the Kia XCeed PHEV and Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In.

Speaking at an online launch event for the e-C4, the brand's CEO Vincent Cobee said: "We are seeing lots of electric cars in the [supermini] B-segment, but the [family car] C-segment is more poised between electric and plug-in hybrid right now.

"We think we're ahead of the wave, but the wave is coming. A car like this with a range of 350 kilometres [217 miles] answers 90% of customers' needs without us having to offer a plug-in hybrid as well."

Citroen expects in the region of 8-10% of total C4 sales will be of the e-C4 electric version initially, however there's an expectation that could grow to as much as 20% before long.

Electric motor, performance, battery, range and charging

The electric C4 uses a similar powertrain to its stablemates: a 134bhp electric motor drawing power from a 50kWh battery, giving a driving range of 217 miles from a charge. It'll hit 62mph from a standing start in 9.7 seconds and has a top speed of 93mph.

As with most electric cars, there's a regenerative braking system to recoup energy when slowing down, as well as a variety of driving modes to prioritise power, efficiency or a balance between the two. The e-C4 comes with rapid charging capability as standard, and will top up from a 100kW public charger to 80% capacity in 30 minutes. Home charging overnight takes in the region of seven-and-a-half hours.

A full suite of safety systems features; Citroen lists 20 in total, including automatic emergency braking, post-collision braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, active cruise control, a 'coffee break' reminder for the driver, fatigue warning, traffic-sign recognition and automatic headlamps. A 360-degree camera, parking assistance, hill-start assistance and trailer stability control are also available.

Exterior design

The new Citroen e-C4 gets a much sleeker, more coupe-like profile than the outgoing C4 Cactus, plus a fairly high nose and a window line that rises towards the back of the vehicle. The e-C4 measures 4,360mm long, 1,800mm wide and 1,525mm high – slightly shorter but taller than a Kia e-Niro.

Citroen says the new car's design "manages to combine the elegance and dynamism of a hatchback while subtly adopting some SUV standards for added strength and character". It boasts short front and rear overhangs, a relatively high ground clearance and a long wheelbase to give what Citroen describes as an "assertive and confident elevated posture". 

The polarising front end gives it a distinctive look, with the double chevron badge splitting in two with the upper branch forming part of the sharp daytime running light signature. The large hexagonal headlights and the low-mounted foglights both use fully LED lighting technology.

Extensive customisation and personalisation of the car will be possible at the time of ordering, with 31 colour combinations (made by mixing and matching seven base colours and five colour highlight packs) available for the exterior and six different interior 'ambiences' to choose from. Electric versions get blue detailing inside and out.

Wheels available range from simple covers on 16-inch steel wheels on the entry-level model, through more stylish 17 and 18-inch alloy-wheel designs, with the e-C4 getting its own exclusive design of 18-inch diamond-cut wheels to set it apart from the diesel and petrol versions.

Citroen e-C4

Interior, comfort and practicality

The interior (above) features a relatively flat and simple dashboard design, with a large borderless 10-inch infotainment screen above the air vents dominating the centre of the cockpit. The driver gets fully digital instruments and a head-up display – although it's not yet known if these features will be standard across the range, or only offered as options or on certain trim levels.

A low-mounted steering wheel has driver-assistance system controls on its left spoke and infotainment buttons on the right, while there are gearshift paddles mounted behind the wheel in the petrol and diesel versions. The climate-control system also gets physical controls, in contrast to some other recent Citroen, Peugeot and DS models, which have used touchscreen operation.

According to Citroen, the new C4 and e-C4 will continue the emphasis on comfort that has characterised its recent model launches, with hydraulic cushion suspension and 'Advanced Comfort' seats promising a very smooth ride – although these will not be standard on the cheapest variants.

The new C4 has a boot capacity of 380 litres, as well as a further 39 litres' storage spread across 16 different interior compartments. A two-position boot floor enables a flat load floor when the rear seats are lowered, while the e-C4 has an underfloor compartment for keeping its charging cables in.

The front-seat passenger can also securely mount a tablet or other mobile device in front of them for use during the journey, thanks to a retractable 'Smart Pad Support' built into the dashboard. There's also a glovebox, a large storage area in front of the dashboard, a wireless phone charging pad and cup holders front and rear.

Citroen has already introduced a plug-in hybrid version of its C5 Aircross family SUV to the range, alongside fully electric e-Dispatch panel van and e-SpaceTourer nine-seater minibus. Upmarket sister brand DS, meanwhile, offers the electric DS 3 Crossback and plug-in hybrid DS 7 Crossback SUVs, with a DS 9 plug-in hybrid executive saloon on the way shortly.