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DS to lead the way in PSA's hybrid and electric future

PSA boss sets our plans for major growth in electric and hybrid cars across the range, starting with DS from 2019

DS will lead PSA’s push into hybrid and electric vehicles from 2019, the company has confirmed. The French automotive giant - which comprises Peugeot, Citroen and DS - has already stated that it will launch an extensive range of plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles across its ranges by 2021. Now it has confirmed more detailed specs on the systems, and revealed that both set-ups will be introduced by vehicles carrying the DS badge.

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The plug-in hybrid tech is likely to be used first on DS’s forthcoming large SUV, which could be called DS 6. It will make use of the fact that the plug-in hybrid version of PSA’s EMP2 platform - which currently underpins the Peugeot 308 - can be front-wheel drive or use electric motors in the rear axle to offer four-wheel drive. The big DS SUV is due to launch across Europe and China in late 2018, which makes the proposed debut of the plug-in hybrid version in 2019 logistically feasible.

PSA says that in front-drive mode - with a new eight-speed automatic gearbox incorporating an electric motor and helping the combustion engine to drive the wheels - the plug-in hybrid set-up will produce 247bhp and 360Nm. These figures rise to 296bhp and ‘more than 450Nm’ when the rear axle also gets electric drive.

The vehicle will be able to drive around 40 miles on pure-electric power, and its various dynamic modes include the ability to replenish battery reserves by using extra power from the 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine. PSA says that the system will also use brake energy recuperation through the electric motor for as much as 90 per cent of the time, instead of a mechanical link to the brake pads and discs. 

The switch to a petrol-electric hybrid means that PSA’s existing diesel-electric set-up now has a limited shelf life. “It will die in 2019, when the new plug-in tech becomes available,” said a senior PSA source.

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PSA also announced that its forthcoming smaller CMP chassis technology - developed in conjunction with the firm’s Chinese partner DongFeng - will be engineered to accept a fully electric powertrain. And a senior engineering representative confirmed to Auto Express that the first model to use the electric CMP components will be a DS. It’s feasible that this could be the next generation of DS 3, although an as-yet-unconfirmed small SUV is considered a more likely choice.

The company claims that CMP will offer as much as 280 miles of range in pure-electric form. Two levels of charging will be offered - a DC set-up that can replenish 80 per cent of battery capacity in 30 minutes, and a home charger that takes eight hours to fully recharge but 90 minutes to reach around 60 miles of range.

The regular petrol- and diesel-powered CMP architecture is expected to support the vast majority of Peugeot, Citroen and DS small cars from 2018 onwards. It’s likely to make its debut on the next 208, although the fully electric version will make its debut in 2019. PSA says the electric technology could be offered on everything “from small city cars to compact SUVs and core sedans”. “The whole range of C-segment [Golf-sized] cars - including every variant of the C4 - could, in theory, be based on CMP,” said the electric project’s co-ordinator Andres Yarce.

CMP won’t arrive in time for the forthcoming Citroen C3, however. This car will still be based on the ageing PF1 platform, which is used on the current 208 and C4 Cactus and can be traced back to the original Peugeot 206 from 1998.

Do you think PSA's plans to increase the number of hybrid and electric models in its range makes sense? Let us know in the comments...

Editor-at-large

John started journalism reporting on motorsport – specifically rallying, which he had followed avidly since he was a boy. After a stint as editor of weekly motorsport bible Autosport, he moved across to testing road cars. He’s now been reviewing cars and writing news stories about them for almost 20 years.

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