Editor's choice
21 Nov 19

Does PSA deserve to be on your EV supplier list?

That’s what the French OEM tried to convince its customers of at last week’s international B2B convention in Paris.

The past decade has been a roller coaster ride for Peugeot-Citroën. From a Europe-focused loss-making car and LCV maker it has evolved into a globally represented integral mobility provider. The driver behind this turnaround has been Carlos Tavares’ 5-year Push to Pass plan introduced in 2016. It is based on 3 pillars: digital transformation, a performance-driven internal culture and CSR.

PSA Group didn’t need five years to turn things around and enter the age of profitability, MaaS and sustainability. So much was clear at last week’s international B2B Convention near Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, to which Fleet Europe was invited.

Some 400 people travelled to the French capital to listen to PSA’s fleet strategy, to interact with representatives from the four brands (Citroën, DS Automobiles, Opel and Peugeot), to learn about the Free2Move service offer and to test drive the latest electrified models.

Electric offensive, brand identity

PSA is finally pulling out all the stops to put its brands on the electric map. Today’s Fleet EV market is dominated by the Nissan Leaf, the BMW i3 and the Renault Zoë, but chances are you will find the Opel Corsa-e, the Peugeot e-208 and the DS3 Cross-back E-tense in next year’s top three.

The German model is not available for a test just yet, but we got the chance to try out the DS3 Crossback E-Tense and the Peugeot e-208 during a short test drive. If it taught us anything, it’s that even though they have very similar underpinnings, they offer an entirely different driving experience.

That is also what PSA vigorously emphasized during the convention: even though the platforms are shared to save R&D costs and benefit from economies of scale, all four brands safeguard their identity. In a nutshell, from bottom to top: Citroën stands for design, practicality and comfort, Opel for affordable hi-tech, safety and German quality, Peugeot for sporty driving fun and a near-premium customer experience, and DS for French luxury, haute-couture and sophistication. 

So, by opting for PSA as your supplier, you still get a wide variety of flavours, shapes, colours and even smells so every employee should be able to find their match, from the Citroën C1 all the way through to the DS7 Crossback – without forgetting the wide LCV range.

Electric last mile

More than one in four light commercial vehicles sold in Europe wear a Citroën, Opel or Peugeot badge, making PSA the leader. And here too, PSA wants to become your favourite supplier if you want to go electric. At the B2B convention, the company previewed an all-electric Opel Vivaro and Peugeot Expert. Like the related Citroën Jumpy (called Dispatch in the UK), they offer a choice of two battery packs: 50kWh for 200km of WLTP range and 75kWh for 300km of WLTP range. By way of comparison, the current Nissan e-NV200 has a 40kWh battery which gets you 200km from the depot.

The next line up to be electrified will be the large vans, including the Citroën Jumper (called Relay in the UK) and Peugeot Boxer. The Opel Movano is still made by Renault – and not by Fiat, as is the case for the Jumper and the Boxer – but PSA has announced it will pull the plug on Opel’s industrial partnership with the brand with the diamond logo by the end of the year. Next year, a new Opel Movano should see the light of day in the shape of yet another clone of the Fiat Ducato.

Preliminary specifications of the Fiat Ducato Electric and its French-German derivatives: up to 1,950kg of payload, 10 to 17m³ of cargo volume and a range that varies between 150 and 260km (WLTP) depending on the battery size and the configuration.

In 2021, it’s the line-up of compact vans that goes electric: the Citroën Berlingo, the Opel Combo and the Peugeot Partner. They will take on the Renault Kangoo Z.E., the next-generation of which will hit the market by the end of next year.  

  

Free2Move: making e-mobility work

On top of offering a platform to make shared mobility as simple, efficient and accessible as possible, Free2Move offers services to facilitate the transition to electric driving, enabling PSA to provide its customers with a 360-degree approach.

First, there are Free2Move’s consulting services in what they call “electro-compatibility”. They help you evaluate the potential electrification of your fleet based on actual vehicle use, determine the number of charging stations you require and provide the charging infrastructure, should you wish so.

Second, Free2Move has developed an app that gives you access to over 100,000 charging stations across Europe. No matter which CPO you use, all charging sessions end up aggregated in one single monthly invoice. The app can also plan the ideal route taking into account the effective range and its use.

If you need a vehicle to travel longer distances once in a while, you can ask Free2Move Rent to provide you with an ICE car within 24 hours: they have fleet of 25,000 vehicle that you can book for anything between 1 day and 1 month through an online platform and – interestingly – open with your smartphone.

Icing on the cake: Free2Move Connect Fleet is the group’s telematics solution that can help you get more out of your fleet and facilitate fleet management. Cherry on the icing on the cake: with Fleet Sharing, you can reduce the TCM by offering your employees a flexible way to use a pool of vehicles – which have no reason not to be electric.

 

A good product is not enough

It goes to show that PSA understands very well that it’s not enough to offer a good product – or even the best in their class in some cases, especially when it comes to electric vehicles. The OEM that will be most successful in the coming years is not necessarily the one that delivers products people want, but the one that takes away the pains their customers are faced with as they transition from old to new mobility.

Authored by: Dieter Quartier