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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Peugeot draws inspiration from the 1940s for its latest quirky electric car design

By Philip Case

It may not give you 'The Drive of Your Life', as its makers Peugeot may try to claim, but the latest micro electric car is creating huge excitement in the automotive industry.

The Peugeot BB1, a cross between a scooter and a car, is powered by two electric motors which are mounted in the rear wheels.

A silver prototype BB1had residents and tourists stopping to take a closer peak when a prototype version rolled into Paris today.

Inspired by Peugeot’s electric VLV from the 1940s, the new all-electric BB1 represents the car firm’s view for the future of electrical-based urban mobility.

The Peugeot BB1

The Peugeot BB1, a cross between a scooter and a car, is powered by two electric motors which are mounted in the rear wheels

Peugeot VLV

Back to the future: Peugeot has based the design of the BB1 on its VLV from the 1940s

At just 2.5m long, the bubble-shaped BB1 can amazingly seat four people in saddle-like seats and its packaging miracle is achieved by rethinking the driving task.

There are no pedals so the driver sits more upright with the rear passenger's legs around the driver's torso, motorbike pillion-style.

There is no room for a steering wheel either and the driver uses handlebars to control the mini vehicle, which is undoubtedly a real head-turner.

Peugeot sought inspiration from quad bikes when planning the BB1's electric propulsion system, co-developed with tyre manufacturer Michelin.

And the rear-wheel driven car is powered by two electric engines which give it plenty of poke.

It can reach 0 to 19 mph in 2.8 seconds and 19 to 37 mph in an impressive four seconds, with a top speed of around 65mph.

The power for the vehicle is provided by two lithium-ion battery packs supplying energy to the respective electric motors located under the right and left-hand rear seats, with a comfortable range of 75 miles.

Peugeot BB1

Future's bright: The Peugeot BB1 could revolutionise the electric car industry if if it makes it to production

Peugeot says the BB1 is a logical addition to a vehicle line-up that incorporates bicycles and scooters, as well as cars.

Access to the vehicle is gained via the reverse opening doors, while the load area access is through an innovative tailgate design.

The body is made up of a very light carbon fibre structure, designed to wrap around the passenger compartment.

Inside, the car has an extensive range of interactive technologies, including a colour multi-function display and audio system with telephone, navigation, Internet access, radio, MP3, USB connector and 12V power socket if necessary.

Peugeot’s keeping mum about whether it will actually put the BB1 into production.

Peugeot BB1

Electric dreams: A cameraman films the Peugeot BB1 prototype, styled on a 1940s design, while it is parked outside a Parisian cafe

Peugeot BB1

C'est chic: French business people flock around the new Peugeot BB1

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