From the Citroën CX to the Aiways U5, testimony from a car lover who went electric

At 52 years old, Olivier Delpierre has had more than 25 cars in his life. After an unfortunate first stint in electric mobility in 2008, followed by a 6-year desert, he would no longer return to petrol or diesel models. Especially to carry out its 4,000 monthly kilometers.

a car enthusiast

Citroën CX or Aiways U5: Olivier Delpierre is the style that wants to discover a little of everything original in terms of automobiles. He is one of the drivers who got to electric early, nurturing a passion for cars. It was not an isolated case in 2008, when he acquired a Citroën Berlingo with nickel-cadmium batteries for 2,000 euros.

Trained as an electronics engineer, I had just established myself as an electrician. I found this utility that suited my new professional life well. However, it was with a slightly avant-garde technical approach that I bought this vehicle. », comments our interlocutor.

However, I experienced many miseries with the electric Berlingo whose autonomy on a recharge allowed me, at best, to go from Val-d’Oise to Essonne “, he admits.

8,000 km in 10 months

My first big problem with this utility happened very quickly with the explosion of the battery tray under the A14 tunnel. The professional who sold me the car, probably obtained in many areas, obviously knew nothing about electric vehicles. The machine a priori left the park of a town hall, for the maintenance of green spaces “, says Olivier Delpierre.

Fortunately, I then found the Citroën dealership in Colombes, for whom this technology kept no secrets. He helped me break the deadlock. As for the reintegration of Berlingo in the official circuit that imposed the rental of batteries, against 150 euros per month. He was then able to replace the defective tray “, he still appreciates it.

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Some time later, an engine light came on on the dashboard. The Berlingo came to a sudden stop, surprising the drivers following me. I was then in the left lane of the A86 near Gennevilliers. This time it was the motor brushes that needed to be replaced. “, he reports.

Oil barrels in front of eyes

Then there was a fan failure which again ruined the carbons, and another problem soon after. In short, from September 2008 to June 2009, I was only able to cover 8,000 km. Citroën Colombes put me in touch with Accus Service, near Bordeaux, who bought this type of vehicle at the time. It was made for 500 euros. Both establishments handled my issue very well at the time. “Thank you Olivier Delpierre.

From 2009 to 2015, I took over thermal vehicles. And then I had a realization. I drove a lot. I calculated what this could do in number of barrels of oil. I could even visualize them. And then I told myself that it was no longer possible, that I had to try an electric car again. “, he confides to us.

So I bought a used Renault Kangoo ZE 5-seater for 4,700 euros, which I kept for 2 years, for 20,000 km. It was a practical vehicle, without any pleasure. It accepted 35 bags of 35 kg each, loaded on pallets. I was sliding this into the trunk directly with a forklift. I managed to pour thanks to this vehicle of 8 to 10 tons of concrete “, he explains.

Holidays 250 km from home

In 2019 I bought a Peugeot Partner Tepee Galicia Electric for 16,000 euros. It had 500 km on the odometer. It was superb, very comfortable and well equipped with air conditioning and back shelves for the kids. I also kept it for 2 years but traveled 30,000 km with it “, figure Olivier Delpierre.

Peugeot Tepee Electric Partner

We used it several times to go on summer vacation. With our two children, there were four of us on board, plus the 18kg Creole Shepherd. We all really enjoyed this MPV. For large matches, two bikes were installed on the roof and another two on the tailgate. “, remember.

The electric Partner only had a range of around 120 km. But it had the CHAdeMO recharge. To get to Fort-Mahon on the Baie de Somme from the Paris region, we took the back roads and stopped 3 times to connect the vehicle: Auchan Beauvais, Amiens, so not far from the end. It takes 5 to 6 hours to complete the 250 km “, he testifies.

40,000 km in a year with the Hyundai Kona

Today, I am a professor of electrical engineering with young people aged between 15 and 18 in a professional section in Touraine. I like having them program automata. I’m looking for a house there. In the meantime, I do about 1,000 km a week to get home. Now I travel with an electric Hyundai Kona that I bought new for 29,000 euros “explains Olivier Delpierre.

I got a nice 10% discount on a basic model. With it, the electric went from the role of second car to the main vehicle by dethroning a Ford Grand C-max. He’s a little small, but so far, big family trips have been done with him: Brittany, Cap-Ferret, Salzburg in Austria, Europa-Park in Germany, etc. And always four, with the dog, the four bikes and a box on a hitch ball “, details.

Tow box - Hyundai Kona Electric

It’s a real pleasure to drive it on mountain roads. When we can, we use Ionity terminals. There, the electric Kona is a little disappointing in terms of recharging power. Which doesn’t really make it any cheaper to use than a thermal car “, compares.

Newcomer: Ways U5

When the Grand C-max’s automatic gearbox broke, we started looking for a roomy electric vehicle. I had read quite positive testimonials of the Aiways U5. The main defect observed by the journalists was the interference of the driving system “, returns Olivier Delpierre.

In December, the brand’s sales reps hadn’t done their numbers. I was able to benefit, in addition to the 6,000 euros of the government bonus, a discount of 5,000 euros and an unexpected recovery of the Grand C-max for 4,700 euros, despite the gearbox problem. So our new model in a very well equipped limited series cost us 27,000 euros. “, calculates.

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Not very tall, my wife likes to have a high position behind the wheel. She was immediately thrilled with the Ways U5. We received our copy on February 7th. So far, he has 5,000 km on the odometer. It is a very pleasant vehicle to drive on a daily basis, very spacious and very quiet. There is just a little wind noise from the windows. “, he judges.

With it, I turn off the signal recognition. Adaptive cruise control works relatively well, but slows the U5 down regardless of whether there are people ahead or not. “, he completes.

Hyundai Kona x Aiways U5

My wife and I had to get to Cap-Ferret from Vouvray; her in U5 and me in Kona. This allowed us to make some comparisons. At the consumption level. Driving at 110-120 km/h, the Hyundai needed just under 15 kWh/100 km. That’s what I usually get from him. On the other hand, with Aiways, 5 kWh more is needed, or 20 kWh / 100 km », aligns our reader.

The Korean SUV allows me to do a Paris-Vouvray non-stop. On the other hand, with Chinese, I have to recharge in Blois “, he underlines.

Even at Level 3, the U5’s regenerative braking is very light. The Kona’s steering wheel fins system is much more efficient, even when stopping the vehicle without pressing the brake pedal. Really allows to get tight consumptions “, he believes.

Charging power that divides

On the DC charging power side, Aiways is much better. Both cars benefit from a similar power capacity of 63-64 kWh. With a Tesla supercharger in Angoulême, the energy level went from 35 to 95% on the U5, while it evolved between 50 and 85% on the Kona panel. “, observed Olivier Delpierre.

In addition to 80% energy, the former has a higher recharge power than the Korean by 60%. Unless there is a preferential rate, and for the same amount of energy received, the Aiways will cost less than the Hyundai when switching to the Ionity, which charges by the minute », alerts our interlocutor.

A little incline to…

Of all the electric vehicles that have come to the house, the Hyundai Kona is my favorite. It is a very playful and fun car to drive. It is, however, with the Aiways that I like to travel far, staying at 110-120 km/h on the highway. “, recognizes Olivier Delpierre.

I would love to try the Tesla Model Y and Model X. But these cars are expensive. I would be quite tempted by a used Mercedes EQV. And for an electric motorcycle too, a Zero, for example he reflects.

I absolutely do not regret switching to the electric car and would not go back. I loved tinkering with my V6, LPG, diesel etc cars. But I must have done it very often. Today, even my lawn mower is electric. And if I had to buy a cutting tractor, it would be very “, he imagines.

When we are in our new house in Touraine, I will equip it with a large photovoltaic installation, namely in garages. I have the skills to do this and I know a good supplier near Nantes “, he concludes.

Automobile Propre and I warmly thank Olivier Delpierre for his warm welcome and contagious enthusiasm.

author’s opinion

I found myself very much in the testimony of Olivier Delpierre. Already its passage by an electric vehicle with nickel-cadmium battery. I had dived a year before, but with the chance of being very well surrounded to make the Renault Clio work as well as possible in 1996, then the Kangoo Elect’Road in 2002. Without that, I would never have been able to cover around 80,000 km in the total with these vehicles, in almost 9 years. They required a battery charge every 3,000 km, they were sensitive to everything. Humidity, heat, cold, salty roads, particulate air, etc. : so many reasons for malfunctions and lights on the dashboard.

Also for holidays not far from home. With Clio, my son and I slept in a hotel 70 km from our house to reach Créhange de Bar-le-Duc (130 km), where I used to live. Without sorrow. On the contrary, we took the opportunity to get to know the restaurant’s menu and the surrounding area. With Kangoo, the four of us went further, in Alsace, 250 km. Also in Epinal and Mirecourt in the Vosges. And always with great satisfaction. This MPV was equipped with a gasoline-powered range extender, which often broke down because it wasn’t used very often. No fast charging. We take advantage of the visits, the time spent at an amusement park or a restaurant to turn on Kangoo.

Like Olivier Delpierre, I liked to spend time in my thermal cars that I kept to myself as much as possible. That would no longer be the case today. If the NiCd electric battery was also very demanding in this matter, it is exactly the opposite with those equipped with a lithium-ion battery. What peace ever since!

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