The electric Nissan Leaf might be about to face some stiff competition in the form of the Citroen DS3 Electrum, an eco-friendly battery powered version of the popular DS3 hatchback.
Set to be unveiled at the Paris Motor Show, the DS3 Electrum boasts lithium-ion batteries, zero tailpipe emissions and offers near silent, environmentally-friendly motoring – just like the market-defining Nissan Leaf. But there are a few fundamental differences between the DS3 Electrum and its Nissan counterpart.
The Electrum is a supermini, for a start, while the Leaf is positioned as a Focus-sized family car. Citroen's baby also has a significantly smaller battery pack – 17.5kWh versus the Leaf's 24kWh unit. As a result, it has a shorter driving range of just 75 miles – 25 miles lower than the Leaf's 100-mile official figure.
The DS3 Electrum should at least be significantly faster than the Leaf. It will be powered by two 65kW (87bhp) electric motors located on the front axle. That 174bhp total places it closer to the Tesla Roadster than the Leaf, which uses a single 80kW (107bhp) electric motor. Of course, actual performance will depend largely on the Electrum's weight, which is still TBC. Whatever the case, it should leave its petrol- and diesel-powered DS3 brethren, and just about everything other supermini on the road, for dust.
If Citroen actually decides to sell the DS3 Electrum then it's unlikely to come cheap. However the fact it uses such powerful motors gives us hope it could turn out to be the performance electric car bargain of the decade – so long as you're happy to wait several hours between charges. More on this as we get it.