New Citroën Oli driven
This radical-looking car apparently previews the sort of cheap electric Citroën you'll be able to buy in the near future. And for our latest video, we've taken a closer look at it...
We're all under pressure to live more sustainable lives, but you still need to get around, and the Citroën Oli is designed to help you in both regards.
Building on the same lightweight and electric philosophy as the tiny Citroën Ami, the Oli has the rufty tufty looks of a small SUV and a footprint similar to the Ford Puma, but it weighs only 1000kg – about the same as a Hyundai i10 city car.
The Oli is powered by a 40kWh battery that sends energy to a single electric motor, providing a range of up to 248 miles between charges. That’s farther than entry level versions of the Cupra Born will take you before needing to be plugged in, and only 40 miles short of the Kia Soul EV's 280-mile range.
However, it's just as well that the Oli is geared towards a slower pace of life, because its top speed is limited to just 68mph to help conserve energy. When you do need to plug it in, a charge from 20-80% takes as little as 23 minutes, if you can find a suitably juicy charging point.
The Oli has solar panels that send electricity to the battery, from which it can be dispensed to other appliances later via an on-board domestic power socket. In fact, it can provide enough power to boil a household kettle for 12 hours before needing to recharge; that’s a lot of tea.
Adaptability is the aim of the game with the Oli. The load area can be extended by folding the rear seats down and the read restraints up into the ceiling, with the rear glass section opening upwards.
Elsewhere, the Oli’s body panels are made from recycled corrugated cardboard – making them cheap to replace – but they are also made to be stood on and have things lashed to them, much like a pick-up truck. The result is a body which is strong but light – the Oli’s doors, for example are 20% lighter than those in a conventional family car.
Buyers won’t have to worry about changing their tyres too often, because the Oli’s Goodyear-developed rubber is made to cover 310,000 miles during it needs replacing – far more than conventional tyres.
Inside, your smartphone forms the Oli's infotainment screen and digital instrument cluster; you simply plug it into a USB socket and mount it on the dashboard. There’s also eco-friendly air conditoning, but precious little else in the way of toys. There’s no stereo, for example – instead, Bluetooth speakers can be ‘docked’ at either end of the dashboard to stream music from your phone. The Oli’s seats are made from recycled materials, while small spaces to securely store items can be accessed below the rear bench.
While it's just a concept, the Oli apparently shows how Citroën plans to evolve its cars in the future in terms of both styling and technology, so we thought we'd take a closer look. You can see what we thought in the video at the top of this story.
Best small SUVs 2024 and the ones to avoid: tried and tested
Thinking of buying a new small SUV? Then make sure you read our rundown of the top 10 cars in this booming sector – plus, find out which ones we'd avoid
Volkswagen T-Roc long-term test
Can What Car?'s 5-star small SUV of 2023 be the perfect companion for our senior videographer? That's what we're going to be finding out over the coming months.