Eive is a retro EV inspired by a Citroën 2CV van – and we’ve driven it

And then he decided that the model had to be registered as new from the factory, which means that it had to be built almost entirely from new parts under the terms of individual vehicle registration. As it turns out, the only used parts Arthur kept for his prototype version of the donor 2CV are the four-speed gearbox (first gear was locked out because it’s unnecessary) and the steering rack, both of which he overhauled, and the Sidewindow. The remaining components are new parts from Cassis.

Arthur names his new Van Eive. Like the 2CEV, it’s powered by a 20kW electric motor and has a 10kWh battery with a range of 65 miles. Production vehicles (production is expected to begin in May next year) will be offered with an optional 22kW battery, increasing range to 120 miles.

Eives equipped with this larger battery have improved suspension. Payload for versions with the smaller 10kW battery is a reasonable 350kg compared to the Fourgonette’s 275kg. Charging takes place via an integrated 3 kW charger, which is connected to a wall socket via a three-pin plug. A charge from 10% to 90% takes about two and a half hours. An optional Type 2 charger is available for £250.

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The fit and finish of the Eive demonstrator are excellent. There is plenty of space under the hood for the engine and associated electronics. The battery is located behind the two seats. It’s almost full-width, but there’s still plenty of cargo space in the back.

From the driver’s seat, the Eive is a pure 2CV. The small and tricky instrument panel has nothing to do with ergonomics, while on the left the well-known push-pull circuit sprouts from the dashboard. Only the charge status display is new.

To get started, turn the key in the ignition, wait a second for the engine to start, dip the clutch and dial in the third (the second is only for steep hills), release the umbrella handbrake and drive off with a jolt while the drive shafts take up the slack.

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The Eive only has as much power as the original, partly for safety reasons, but also to keep the original’s sense of leisurely progression. So it’s slow, but once rolling it’s torquey enough to stay in traffic. At 40 mph on its long-travel suspension (it leans weirdly around roundabouts) and with the softly whirring gearbox, it sounds and feels utterly authentic.

Prices start at £39,995 plus VAT. That’s a significant premium over the larger and more efficient Citroën e-Berlingo, which starts at £30,335 plus VAT. However, a company that wants to go green and get noticed may think it’s worth paying for. If Arthur’s modest sales forecast proves correct, an Eive could also hold its value better.


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