You might not have noticed but there’s quite a lot of talk about electric cars at the moment.
There isn’t time here to discuss whether they are or aren’t the all-healing cure for the world’s transport ills but for the moment car makers are throwing their weight behind a battery powered future.
Some are launching standalone EVs to sit alongside their combustion engined models and others are hiving off entire electric sub-brands. Peugeot however, has kept things simpler, letting customers choose a model then choose what sort of drivetrain they want.
Hence why, at first glance, it’s hard to tell that this particular 2008 is battery powered rather than petrol or diesel driven. The electric version of the rival to the Nissan Juke, Renault Captur, Vauxhall Mokka and Ford Puma shares its body and platform with the regular petrol verison. Peer closer, though, and you’ll spot the dichromic finish to the lion badge, a body coloured finish to the grille and some subtle ‘e’ badges. Apart from those it looks like any other 2008.
With the pending updates to the 308, Peugeot must have one of the strongest design identities of any mainstream brand. The e-2008 is no exception. The tall upright front end with its deep grille, triple slash headlights and fang-like DRLs is bold and striking, and even if things turn a bit “generic SUV” further back, the rear end claws things back (pun intended) with the slash-like tail lights which give it some measure of distinction.
Inside, the e-2008 continues Peugeot’s recent success with a high-quality look and feel and some bold touches. A textured concave dashboard wraps around and marries up with the door cards to create an enveloping feel. Jutting from it are the central 10-inch touchscreen and unusual open-sided instrument binnacle which houses a neat and eye-catching 3D digital instrument display. I’m not convinced it makes anything difference to reaction times (as Peugeot claims) but it’s easy to read and visually appealing.
Our GT Line car comes with supportive but not too tight sports seats with a sharp lime green contrast stitch that brightens the cabin, along with the panoramic glass roof, gloss black and brushed metal trim. The seats are comfortable but offer a far lower, more stretched out driving position than the regular upright SUV style. This is a compact SUV so don't expect huge space in the rear but it's spacious enough for family use.
There are some small ergonomic issues. The cruise control stalk is hidden behind the steering wheel, the temperature settings are a fiddly touchscreen affair, there’s no auto hold handbrake and the infotainment system is sharp but sluggish and complicated. You can at least plug in a phone and use Android Auto or Apple CarPlay as a solution.
While these issues and qualities are shared with other 2008s, the e-2008’s big difference lies beneath the surface where the CMP platform houses a 50kWh battery and 100kW electric motor driving the front wheels.
The e-2008 isn’t a particularly large car and the motor’s 134bhp and 221lb ft is enough for it to feel lively on the move. It’s not barn-burningly quick but there’s a responsiveness at any speed thanks to the nature of the electric motor, which never feels stressed.
Treat it gently and Peugeot says you’ll get up to 206 miles on a charge but as with fossil fuel-powered cars, how much you get from a “tank” will depend on how and where you drive. Driving on the rural roads around me and on a trip to see family the range fell away quicker than predicted, with an 80-mile round trip using 95 miles of predicted range. Conversely my rural-urban commute used just 50 miles of range for a 61-mile round trip. My best miles per kWh was 3.5, the worst was 2.8 meaning I could expect between 140 and 175 miles from a full charge.
One risk with electric cars is that without the background noise of an engine, passengers are more aware of other external sounds such as wind and tyre roar. Thankfully, Peugeot seems to have put in the work to address this and the e-2008 is impressively refined right up to motorway speeds.
That refinement carries through to the driving experience too. It rides well with decent damping and the low centre of gravity offered by the batteries give a planted, stable feel on the road. It’s not particularly sporty but it’s secure and predictable in the way you want from a smallish SUV.
For a smallish SUV, the e-2008’s £30,000+ price tag sounds pretty steep. Both the Vauxhall Mokka-e and electric Mazda MX-30 are cheaper, although the Mazda's range is smaller. If you opt for a high-spec car like ours matters are worse as its higher list price excludes it from the plug-in car grant. That said, there’s plenty of tech, comfort and convenience on board and the e-2008 has a more premium ambience than many rival B-SUVs.
It’s also endowed with a decent, refined driving experience and stylish looks that help it stand out in a packed segment. The e-2008’s range won’t suit everybody’s lifestyle but for those who never venture too far from a home charger it’s a sharp looking and sharp performing entry into the world of electric vehicles.
Peugeot e-2008 GT Line
Price: £35,915 (£38,040 as tested); Motor: Single synchronous 100kW electric motor; Power: 134bhp; Torque: 221lb ft; Transmission: Automatic electric drive with fixed ratio, front-wheel drive; 0-62mph: 8.7 seconds; Top speed: 93mph; Battery: 50kWh; Range: 191-206 miles