My Urban Car

Electric cars are expensive? 2023 Peugeot e208 #ElectricMustard EV Review

Can an EV costing under £22,000 brand new, be capable of long distance trips? After 2,500 miles what’s it been like? Worth noting a revised e208 is on the way for 2024 with the option of more range.. but you may need to wait a while for discounts off the faintly ridiculous Peugeot list prices.

We’ve done many long distance #EVDaytrips in a 2019 Model 3 but, frankly, the Tesla makes it ridiculously easy. But do those nightmare media stories about EV and charging network nightmares resonate any more if you try the same in a small car that you can buy for half the cost and isn’t a Tesla?

Our test car is a new 2023 Peugeot e208 Allure premium+ we found one for 34.8% off list price with no haggling, pre registered for just £21,969 with just 1 mile on the clock. A petrol one ordered off the Peugeot website the same week would have set you back £23,810 so £1,841 more than what we paid for this EV. To find out how to bag an EV bargain yourself our article is here.
In January 2024 you can find some outgoing model e208’s for under £20k.

How did the e208 manage on our round Wales challenge?

Full trip report to follow here but #Electric Mustard delivered! Final stats using only Tesla Superchargers were…

  • Distance – 485 miles,
  • average speed 41mph
  • average whole trip efficiency of 4.1 miles per kWh
  • Weather was not ideal with light or heavy rain for most of the route and almost zero sun but the little Peugeot cut the Mustard.

Introducing our Peugeot e208 #ElectricMustard test vehicle

According to the optimistic official WLTP result, this 2023 e-208 should manage 232 miles per charge. Most testers reckon nearer 180 miles is achievable so we be tested that too. In our first 150 miles we got 4 miles per kWh. On the 46.3kWh battery that’s 185 miles and we’d need stretch that to 4.3 to reach 200 miles or 4.5 to reach 208 miles. Temperatures were forecast for 16c both days with more chance of heavy rain on day 1.

We chose #ElectricMustard to find out what it’s like if you have to rely on charging a bit more often but still charge quite quickly. We also chose EM because its charge port is situated in the perfect place for Tesla superchargers which in Wales are nearly all open to non Tesla’s. Finally this car has the same hardware as many other cars and vans from Vauxhall, Peugeot and Citroen so if this car can do it so can its smaller more efficient siblings most of them, including the Vauxhall Corsa-e.. although not the van based models.

Peugeot e-208 – driving

Right from the start the Peugeot impressed. Peugeot uses the odd i-cockpit layout with a small steering wheel that you look over to see the instrument panel. Once I had lowered the wheel and raised my seat this potentially marmite arrangement didn’t get a second thought. It works fine even if it does feel like you sit higher than in a Model 3. It may not work for everyone though, so a test drive is recommended.

The first impression is how smooth and refined the fully electric Peugeot feels with a mostly silent electric drive and no gear changes. It really does feel like a bigger and luxury segment vehicle especially at urban speeds with good ride quality at all speeds.

Coming from a minimalist Tesla, the cabin looks stylish as do the toggle switches for things like air recirculate and hazard warning while the sound system is decent, especially the impressive stereo effect in the front seats. Play any of the right late 60’s or early 70’s tracks and you really notice it. There is even a volume knob! Just remember those spotify tracks will burn through your phone’s data allowance at an impressive pace in high quality settings!

The touch screen seems ancient, small and clunky compared to the Model 3 I mostly drive but attach your phone (via cable) and apple car play gives the system wings. A choice of Waze and Apple maps work well (although Apple maps did try and persuade me to take a clifftop coastal path past an MOD firing range).. luckily I knew the location so it was more something to laugh over but as always use brain before going down a wrong road!

The Peugeot has drive modes to choose from. I’ve tended to default to normal which gives good acceleration while slipping into sport for faster overtaking. What about eco? Well it still keeps up fine in urban and slower A road traffic but the cut in power is very noticeable at higher speeds or going up hills. Eco also cuts the AC which you don’t always want especially in wet weather.

While the car is no 205 GTi, the e208 feels well planted in wet and dry conditions and grip round the bends seemed good. It’s a really very capable companion. Noise levels are low at all speeds. There was a small rattle on the passenger side butit disappeared later. My water bottle also sometimes rattled in the drivers door but a towel or mat of some kind in the floor of the door pocket may sort the issue.

Efficiency seemed a little disappointing at first, especially compared to a Tesla Model 3. It turns out though that the e208 has a useful sweet spot. Set cruise at 70mph ( which is real 68mph on GPS) and you have a decent chance of getting around 3.9 to 4.1 miles per kWh on the motorway. If you exercise less self control with speeds between 70mph and 80mph and you will soon be looking at nearer 3.2 miles per kWh even in good warm weather. Clearly the aerodynamics count against the Peugeot here. If you instead end up behind traffic on an A road or on a slower B road using the regen B mode and you can get 4.3 to 4.5 miles per kWh and in slow urban environments in London with 20 mph zones you can get 4.5 to 5.5 miles per kWh without AC on … we even managed 5.7 on a 12 mile trip which is just 175 Wh/mile. Very impressive.

Charging speed is decent too but the 2023 e208 has less of a charge curve and more of a staircase. We’ve seen up to 99kW speeds even at 18% SOC, and a decent 56kW at 76% SOC.

Top Tip – The moment the battery reaches 77% SOC though the charging speed drops from 56kW to just 19kW or even 17kW!. So, for quickest charges in around 26 mins… stop DC charging at close to 77% unless you really need more!

Overall the Peugeot is impressive on charging speed and should proved an excellent non Tesla test car! In warmer weather charging to 90% and driving down to 5% got us 165 miles.

The Car – the Peugeot e-208 compared to a Tesla Model 3

If you’re expecting all to go the Tesla’s way there are some surprises from the e208

  • Peugeot win – The indicator stalks work much better than the Tesla with effective cancelling and easy flick from right to left in one move ( the next Model 3 won’t have indicator stalks at all)
  • Peugeot win – includes a rear wiper
  • Peugeot win – navigation on Apple maps and Waze via carplay is better than on the Tesla both visually at junctions and in the voice guidance. Warnings about hazards and speed cameras are provided ( although the consistency and timing of speed camera warnings on apple maps very suspect)
  • Tesla win – Integrating navigation and charging stops effortlessly there is no comparison.
  • Tesla win -space and pace – Peugeot requires smaller passengers and bags!
  • Tesla win – Peugeot electric parking brake has to be engaged manually so doesn’t hold the car automatically on a slope. It does at least release automatically when you accelerate but it’s not a smooth release unless you release it manually.
  • Tesla win – efficiency overall but the Peugeot is much better in slow urban traffic than my pre heat pump 2019 Tesla Model 3 with over 5 miles per kWh sometimes achieved in ideal conditions
  • Peugeot win – direct access to SIRI means it’s voice system is better and more natural and can answer non car questions.
  • Peugeot win – Apple Carplay is easier and more accurate to respond to and reply to text messages via the voice system and it can handle Teams and Whatsapp as well.
  • Tesla win – the Peugeot has no way to set the a maximum charge percentage or remotely stop a charge, so if you aren’t next to the car you can’t stop it continuing beyond 80%. The only workaround is to tell the car to pause for a scheduled charge starting later.
  • Tesla win – the Peugeot app is glitchy and and connecting to remote access needed help from Peugeot customer services.. who were very good. While the Tesla app communicates with the car with ease with the Peugeot it’s quite hit and miss with limited access to information (it doesn’t even say if the car is locked or not).
  • Tesla win – The Tesla app allows remote control of many vehicle features and is free while after a free 6 months the Peugeot will need an £80+ per year fee which is a lot for such limited functionality.
  • Tesla win – The Peugeot can do vehicle updates but it’s very awkward and clunky. You have to download the update on your PC, transfer it to a large USB drive ( which often stalls or fails) and then when you insert it you have to sit in the car with car on while it updates! So much easier with a Tesla where you do have to connect car to wifi but you don’t have to be in the car and the entire process can be run from your phone.
  • Tesla win – Peugeot needs a ridiculous number of button presses to start or especially to end a journey. It won’t even lock the parked car (using a key fob!) unless the car has been turned off first.
  • Tesla win – Tesla can offer full one pedal driving to a complete halt. Peugeot offers a weaker regen needing more anticipation and only if a B button is pressed (for every trip). It then slows to a 5mph creep like a piston automatic. Nonetheless the Peugeot does get a reasonable amount of regen on hilly routes usually holding a steady speed on gentler downhill routes.
  • both cars are remarkably quiet around town and fairly quiet at 70 mph motorway speeds.
  • Both have decent audio systems with easy access to Spotify (although you need Spotify on your phone to use it in the Peugeot)
  • Peugeot screen is tiny and primitive compared to the Tesla but offers quite a bit of flexibility in what is displayed
  • Peugeot win – surprisingly the Peugeot not only has rear parking sensors but also a rear camera which although poor resolution compared to the Tesla has a brilliant double party trick of a rear birds eye top down view when you are close to something behind you and as you reverse it builds a full around the car view making perfect positioning in a parking bay much easier even at the front.
  • To see live efficiency in the Peugeot you either have to set one of the trip meters or go into apps/ vehicle apps/ energy. You have to click on energy even when it is the only app available and then the car defaults to the entirely pointless energy flow graphic. The next tab is more useful indicating your average energy consumption and a bar chart displaying energy use at various time intervals.

Would we recommend it?

Broadly yes, especially these pre reg models on sale for around £20k. At the £33k list price for the updated version it is up against some much better cars with more range.

Further reports will appear here and on twitter on @rivergecko and @myurbancar

David Nicholson

David Nicholson Is the founder of Rivergecko Ltd & MyUrbanCar which provide consultancy and advice for drivers and fleets to speed the transition from dirty fossil fuel transport to clean vehicles powered by renewable energy on land water and air.

The @MyUrbanCar twitter feed is a source of news & reviews of electric & plugin cars and vans in the UK.
The @rivergecko twitter feed & websites bring news and opinion on cleantech transport including cars, vans, buses, trucks, shipping, rail & aviation as well as autonomous vehicles & renewable energy, air pollution & motor industry news.

David Nicholson has worked as an underwriter at Lloyd's of London since the 1980's. His interest in technology goes back many years including interactive mapping, apps, green tech, boats, solar and cars.

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