Singapore’s next affordable EV could be a Citroen

Derryn Wong
2023 Citroen e-C4 - Christophe Musy Stellantis - CarBuyer Singapore

Small, light, inexpensive, and stylish? Citroen’s next EVs could be just what we need, says Stellantis senior executive Christophe Musy


EVs have many benefits, but they’re also heavy and expensive. While the EV scene continues to burgeon here, what with the Chinese EV blitz ramping up, Singapore’s next affordable EV could come from Europe.  

2023 Citroen e-C4 - Christophe Musy Stellantis - CarBuyer Singapore
The electric Citroen e-C4 debuted at the 2023 Singapore Motorshow

French mainstream car brand Citroen has already taken its first steps toward that, with the rest of the electric staircase on the way. The brand launched a relatively inexpensive EV, the e-C4, at the Singapore Motorshow 2023, but what could follow that is a more exciting possibility for those who like their EVs petite in size and price. 

At the Singapore Motorshow 2023, Citroen debuted the electric version of its reborn C4, the once-a-hatchback Golf competitor, now restyled into a crossover. The C4 is an extremely cost-effective car, so much so that it earned a nomination in the Value Champion category for our first Car Of The Year Awards.

The e-C4 looks to do the same, sans gasoline engine, if only on price alone : At S$169,999 with COE, it’s one of the least expensive European EVs on the market.

Right : Christophe Musy, Stellantis Head of Asean and General Distributors
Left : Some dude

Citroen has always had a little extra flair in engineering and design, as cars like the original DS and semi-modern C6 showed, but it’s also always been a brand that’s thoroughly grounded too.

“Citroen is, I would say, one of the best brands when it comes to practical life features, as it’s very important for our cars to be accessible – it’s about making your life easier. We want to be close to the practical needs of our customers,” says Christophe Musy, Stellantis’ head of Asean and general distributors, who spoke to CarBuyer at the motorshow.

Stellantis is the car conglomerate formed by the merger of Fiat-Chrysler and PSA, and whose brands now include Alfa Romeo, DS, Fiat, Jeep, Maserati, Opel, Peugeot, and of course, Citroen. 

High tech ≠ Inaccessible 

“We want to be a frontrunner in technology, cutting edge, but at the same time it’s very important to remain accessible. So we don’t want it to be more and more technology (for its own sake), we like tech, and we’re always advanced, but it must be useful and accessible for the customer.” – Christophe Musy

Singapore’s EV wave has been somewhat inverted. The first EVs to land have largely been luxury models, or cars that aren’t cheap by mainstream standards – and they still aren’t. High COE prices are to blame, in part : Why bring in a budget EV if it’s just going to become overpriced at the end of the day?

2023 Citroen e-C4 - Christophe Musy Stellantis - CarBuyer Singapore
Citroen’s updated CI reflects the brands focus on deliver practical benefits to its buyers

But on the other hand, EVs themselves are still more expensive than gasoline cars everywhere else in the world too, and price parity is only expected in another half decade or so. 

CarBuyer’s own EV show, EV Weekend, did its part to bring more awareness of better positioned EVs, as our story explains, with surprisingly (suprising to our show goers, that is) well-priced EV offerings from the likes of Opel and Peugeot. 

That brings up a comparison point, though: Peugeot’s e-2008, Opel’s Mokka-e, and Citroen’s e-C4 all run on the same e-CMP platform. EVs already drive in a largely similar way, even across segments, so how does Citroen plan to stand out from the crowd? 

Citroen Oli Concept
Citroen’s Oli concept city car

Musy says the ‘platformification’ of cars is unavoidable, as modern carmaking is an immensely cost-intensive process – in sense it’s a choice between a range of products based on the same fundamentals, or no choice at all. The big budget items – platform, safety, once engines but now batteries and electronics – are cost-spread across brands, but there’s significant leeway everywhere else, such as in the cabins and interior, design, chassis and suspension, as well as material choices.

EV Lite 

Citroen Oli Concept
Citroen’s Oli concept city car displays the idea of a small EV for urban use

An example is Citroen’s Oli city car concept, which goes the opposite of heavy, powerful, and big-batteried, rather it’s all about paring back and offering maximum effectiveness: “Oli is not about escalation – more weight, more battery – but sometimes less is more. So it’s important that we, Citroen, bring only useful technology to the customers. And not unnecessary tech, which brings more weight, and cost.”

But while concept cars almost always remain theory rather than praxis there is already an affordable, small Citroen EV on a horizon not so far away : Citroen’s ‘Smart Car’ (not the Daimler micro car brand) initiative in India, of which the result is an electric compact hatch, the e-C3.

2023 Citroen e-C3 - CarBuyer Singapore
Citroen’s e-C3 has just debuted in India

“For India, we have an electric C3 programme, and this car is affordable, not just a city car, but a nice car to drive as well. It’s compact, has 200km of range, it will be affordable, and with up to date tech. We start off in India, and we’ll see if it can be appleid to other parts of Asia. It’s an opportunity that we have which many other brands don’t,” says Musy of the e-C3. 

On paper, it looks very modest with a 56hp motor and roughly 30kWh battery, but it could be a very affordable machine if it ever comes here. In India, the e-C3 is expected to cost around 900,000 India rupees, or around S$14,000 – assuming that to be the car’s OMV, it could cost less than S$130,000 with COE, if it ever comes to Singapore. That would make it the cheapest EV on the market here.

In that sense, Citroen’s enacting of its ‘creative technologie’ tagline doesn’t just mean novel tech or ideas, but also making the maximum out of minimalism. 


c4 Citroen concept e-c3 e-c4 electric electrification EV oli

About the Author

Derryn Wong

CarBuyer's former chief editor was previously the editor for Top Gear Singapore, and a presenter for CNA's Cruise Control motoring segment. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he is the Chief Slave of two cats. Follow him on Instagram @werryndong

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