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Citroen E-Mehari: the quirky, beach-going EV. Image by Citroen.

Citroen E-Mehari: the quirky, beach-going EV
Electric drive, a four-stage roof, and a hose-down interior - this is Citroen's mad E-Mehari.
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What's all this about?

It's an utterly bonkers creation from Citroen, a company that has a superb track record of turning out madhouse machines. Rejoice!

Is it a Mehari?

Better than that - it's an E-Mehari. This left-field vehicle has an advanced 30kWh lithium metal polymer (LMP) battery pack; this is a 'dry' battery, so it's described as fully solid. This apparently bestows certain advantages on the battery, one key feature being that it's less susceptible to changes in temperature. Citroen claims the E-Mehari, which has a top speed of 69mph (less than a 2CV!), can go 62.5 miles out of town and up to 125 miles in the city as a result, while its battery takes anything between eight and 13 hours to recharge. The motor powering all of this is a 50kW item.

With that recharging time, it's not massively practical, is it?

We-ell... no, not on these specs, but there are other plus points, quite aside from its silent, zero-emissions running capability. Its Cactus-derived, high-riding, black-trimmed body is made of thermoplastic, which means it'll never rust and can withstand low-speed parking dings; it also makes the E-Mehari light. The roof, which comes in either beige or orange-red, can be configured four different ways to cover the front, rear, sides or the whole cabin. And the four-seat interior with a folding rear bench has fully waterproof seats, which means you can hose the entire car down inside and out.

Right. I'm still not exactly sold. Anything else you can tell me?

Umm... it comes in four colours (blue, orange, yellow and beige), which all hark back to the original Mehari of 1968. The doors are sculpted to remind you of the ribbed items (no sniggering at the back, please) on that classic version. And you've got to admit it's kind of cool, isn't it?

I suppose. When will it go on sale?

Following a preview event in Paris prior to Christmas, production of the E-Mehari at the PSA Group's Rennes factory will commence in early 2016, ready for an on-sale date in its native France in spring. Here's hoping it comes to the UK. For no other reason than it will give us something to smile about.

Matt Robinson - 7 Dec 2015

2016 Citroen E-Mehari. Image by Citroen.2016 Citroen E-Mehari. Image by Citroen.2016 Citroen E-Mehari. Image by Citroen.2016 Citroen E-Mehari. Image by Citroen.    - Citroen road tests
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