Electric Car Prices Drop In Europe, Will U.S. Follow?

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Peugeot iON Electric

Peugeot iON Electric

When Renault launched its Zoe electric car at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show with a starting price of little over $21,000 (after the U.K's plug-in car grant), more than a few jaws hit the floor.

After all, that's easily the cheapest proper electric car on sale in Europe, and even looks good in the U.S. where prices are typically lower.

Now, French duo Peugeot and Citroen have announced (via TheChargingPoint) they're slashing the prices of the Mitsubishi i-based iOn and C-Zero electric cars. With European EV prices falling, will the U.S. follow?

Price is still one of the dividing factors concerning the popularity of electric cars. For some the vehicles are investments that allow them to save money in the longer term and cut down on pollution in the meantime, but other consumers are put off by the high prices of cars like the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt, even after government and state incentives are taken into account.

With combined sales of only 171 units in 2011, Peugeot and Citroen have reduced prices of the iOn and C-Zero by a significant $11,000 in the U.K. With buyers also able to make use of the country's near-$8,000 plug-in car grant, each car now costs around $33,661 at current exchange rates.

That's still more than the $29,125 the larger, better-equipped U.S. version of the 2012 Mitsubishi i costs, before you even take federal and state incentives into account - but hugely less than it was, and cheaper than the Leaf sells for in the U.K.

So is this what Nissan, Chevy and Mitsubishi need to do to increase demand of the Leaf, Volt and Mitsubishi i in the States?

A similar $11,000 discount would certainly make a few more buyers sit up and take notice, and in many cases would make the cars cheaper than the equivalent hybrid or diesel car in the class. That's quite some incentive.

However, electric car sales in Europe are relatively slow, even compared to the U.S. Those price drops should help stimulate demand, which is less of an issue in the States.

If the price drop works though, it'll certainly give credence to the theory that price is one of the deciding factors in electric car sales.

Peugeot and Citroen had just better hope it sells enough cars before Renault's cheaper, higher-quality and better equipped Zoe hits the European market...


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Comments (11)
  1. It looks like EU somewhat followed current American prices and there's nothing to respond to here. The prices will not drop in the States for sure.

  2. The automakers in America would have to be complete morons to think that the price of their cars would not affect sales. Before GM came out with the Volt, electric cars (not hybrids, they weren't on the table) prices were not above $25,000.00 (just check back through your articles), because it does not take as much to build an electric car as it does an ICE and an electric car should never cost more than an ICE of equal body design or style. Batteries should not cost that much either because lithium is not a rare mineral; a geothermal power plant in California pumps out a hundred tons a year from the brine and sends it to China.

  3. Again, for the 100th time with the "it does not take as much to build an electric car as it does an ICE" nonsense... Not true the first time you wrote it and not true the 100th time, either. Even more amusing is your claim that before the Volt "electric cars prices were not above $25,000.00" claim.

    Which EVs were selling for less than $25k again before the Volt? I believe the answer is "none of them."

    Since there isn't an OEM anywhere in th world selling even one EV model for less than an ICE equivalent, why do you persist with the same BS reasoning?

    EVs do not cost less than ICE vehicles now, did not before the Volt and will not in the near future, either. But keep repeating the same things since reality isn't your target, anyway.

  4. Of course it's good to note that the Renault Zoe comes batteries not included making it more difficult to compare with the Peugeot/Citroen iMiEV clones, but it's still a very good deal. People may not be too eager anyway to own a big ticket item like a car battery since people tend to associate batteries with problems ("battery anxiety") so maybe the rent concept catches on.

  5. Hi Chris, thanks for adding that. The battery rental scheme certainly makes some form of sense in Europe, where a month's rental is still significantly less expensive than a single tank of gas. Plus, as you say, it adds a bit of confidence over the battery.

  6. If the other 13 geothermal power plants in America would build a processing plant like California did, which is owned by China, we would have a million tons of lithium, a hundred tons of gold, about 350,000 tons of silver, and several tons of other rare metals and electric car batteries would be about $300.00 a piece. It was GM who jacked these prices up in trying to kill the electric car again and all the other greedy automakers follow suit. GM did not need $450 billion dollars to retool their plant, they already had a plant set up to build electric cars. You remember that plant don't you?

  7. prices will decrease only enough to sell the cars that have been made.

    but, as more and more companies start selling an evs, that continues to increase the supply.

    that logic is no different than any other product for sale.

  8. You forgot to mention that buyer have to pay a monthly fee for the battery which is not part of the vehicle purchase.

  9. Thanks Joel, Chris also pointed that out above. The extra $12,000 or so price difference between the Renault and the Peugeot/Citroen would certainly get a few months' rental though!

  10. competition will control pricing. Coda started selling EVs. that makes 4. well, 3 if you consider what "we" can afford. soon Ford will have an EV.

    but lets face it. downward pressure on pricing does not happen because product does not sell, it happens because there is a demand that some other company is meeting. so you either provide a better product at their price or a cheaper product. simple as that. right now, there are many car manufacturers crossing their fingers hoping and praying that they can put off "this EV thing" for a few more years... it is up to us to prove them wrong

  11. Peugot/Citroen/Mitsubishi sells for 199.900 inkl winter tyres. In Norway. Started on 250.000,- NOK when introduced. Dropped rapedly when Nissan Leaf came om market. 265.000,- All 4 sells very good. Goverment incentives, free road toll, use comuter lane ( for bus/taxi) free parking on city owned places, and ferry fare. Norway have bigest precentage of elctric cars.

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