We see the Peugeot 208 on our roads very often. It’s hard to believe that this compact little hatchback has been with us for almost four years now. Yet we haven’t had the chance to see the electric version, which will soon be upgraded with more power and battery capacity. So we finally tried it out in our weekly test.
We’ve had the Peugeot 208 a few times before, so we’re very familiar with its design. In fact, the style of the conventional variant is also adopted by the electric version, which has received only the bare minimum of extras. The French concern is going the route of the widest possible range of motorisations in one model and, unlike, for example, Renault or Volkswagen, does not believe that an electric car needs its own look and possibly even the whole model. And looking at e-208, you’ll say to yourself that there’s a logic to this strategy. Even though the Peugeot 208 is a constant on our roads, still anyone will turn up behind it, especially in the distinctive red paintwork. Design simply Peugeot still knows how to do, and then if you pay extra for the (visually) sportier GT trim with LED lights, you can already talk about it as a really nice car. We’ve already discussed the interior in other tests and so I’ll just reiterate that the driving position is nice, the seats are fine and I personally like the small steering wheel. Once you get used to the i-Cockpit, you won’t complain. However, the position behind the wheel will be harder to find for those under 180 centimetres. A little weaker is the information system through which the climate control is controlled. It’s not exactly the most nimble and could certainly do with an upgrade along the lines of the new 308. I was also slightly annoyed all week by the touch buttons on the panel below it. The craftsmanship is of a decent standard within the segment, but alongside the brand’s younger models it lags a little. There’s just enough room up front, but taller passengers in the back will have to constrain themselves a bit. The boot has a capacity of 309 litres, the same as in the petrol or diesel versions. The test vehicle was in the Allure Pack trim. It wasn’t quite a “souped-up” GT, but the little car had a decent amount of equipment. Except for the incomprehensible absence of heated seats. In this trim level the customer also gets a great 3D digital QUARTZ dashboard and rear parking camera. In addition, the electric version automatically comes with different alloy wheels (Elborn instead of the standard Soho wheels found on the combustion versions. The electric e-208 also gets an extra front grille with body-colour decoration and blue background on the lion emblems. These are still of old design and low quality, as apparently after frequent visits to the washroom, the blue paint on them was already slightly peeled off.
Traditionally, the most important things about the e-208 are found under the front hood. There is an electric motor with 100 kW (136 hp) and 260 Nm (260 lb-ft) of torque, which is complemented by a 50 kWh battery (but only about 45 kWh are usable), quite classically modeled after the combustion versions. The system drives the front wheels and is mated to an automatic transmission that is controlled by a pulse selector. In addition to the conventional “D” position, there is also a “B” (Brake) position, which acts as a regenerative mode and ensures faster battery recharging in exchange for more deceleration of the vehicle. The electric e-208 weighs in at a fat 1483 kilograms, so it’s no longer the little whiny hatchback. The ride feels more grown-up, as if you’re sitting in a class better car. The chassis dampens bumps nicely and doesn’t transmit shocks to the bodywork. Soundproofing is decent, too, but conversely, because of the quiet electric motor, aerodynamic noise stands out at highway speeds. With a power output of 100 kW and compact dimensions, there is also very pleasant dynamics up to some 130 km/h. Thanks to the flexibility of the electric motor, overtaking is easy. Unfortunately the top speed is limited to 150 km/h. Which is actually a good thing, because otherwise you probably wouldn’t even get from Bratislava to Piešt’any due to the high consumption. The car is quite confident in corners and understeer comes gradually, but a little earlier than in the lighter petrol version. The latter gives a much more agile overall impression thanks to its lighter weight. The e-208 is equipped with a built-in three-phase on-board charger with up to 11kW and thanks to the CCS – Type 2 socket you can also charge it at home with 230V/380V AC. In addition, there is the possibility of fast DC charging at a fast charging station up to a maximum output of 100kW. Charging from 0 to 80% is declared in 30 minutes, but the reality is that you never go to the charger with 0% battery and so for example charging from 20 to 80% takes plus or minus the same. If you’d like to wait until 100% charge, that’s for another coffee or snack, as the charging process is optimized and after you exceed a certain capacity, the power gradually decreases, so somewhere around 90% you’re already charging very slowly. I’ve been charging from something like 20 to 100% on a 50 kW charger for less than an hour. This is also still an acceptable time, but on a conventional 22 kW charger, for example, count on 3-4 hours.
The carmaker gives a paper range of up to 362 km for the e-208 according to the WLTP standard. However, with a full battery, the car, at temperatures around freezing, showed a range of just 280 km. It depends a lot on whether you charge the car with already warmed up battery or after a long cold shutdown. With repeated charging, we managed to achieve a range of 300 km from a conventional 230V socket and 310 km when recharging on a 50 kW fast charger. This clearly shows that electric cars without a heat pump are not suited to low temperatures close to zero. For the electric e-208 you will only get a type 3 charging cable in the base, which is used to connect it to the charging station or Wallbox. If you’d like a standard cable for plugging into your home 230V socket, you’ll pay about 450€ extra. Peugeot also offers the possibility to buy original Wallboxes at prices from approx. 760€, which have different outputs (from 3,7kW with one phase and 16A circuit breaker to 22kW with three phases and 32A circuit breaker) and require professional installation. Plus, of course, you need to pay a lump sum at one of the electricity distributors. The Peugeot e-208 has a claimed WLTP consumption of 16.3 – 16.5 kWh/100km. The reality during the test was 23 kWh/100km. Of this, almost 80% of the trips were city traffic, 15% county roads and 5% short distance motorway transfers. If you have a lot of time on your hands and don’t need to commute daily, charging at home from a conventional socket is still the cheapest alternative to fossil fuels. However, it’s already worse when you look at the price lists of distributors and charging stations. And worse, unfortunately, is the price. You can buy a Peugeot 208 with the 1.2 PureTech petrol engine, in pretty decent Allure trim, from €20,500 today. With a manual gearbox, you’ll then save another €1,500. For the fuel-efficient 1.5 BlueHDI Allure diesel, you’ll pay €22,600 (it’s currently only available with a manual). However, if you want an electric e-208, you’ll pay a hefty premium. The Peugeot e-208 Allure comes in at a hefty €36,290, and then €1,600 more in the higher GT trim. Whether the form of electric drive is worth the almost 15 thousand euros extra and the more than half reduced range is up to you…