We drive a 100% electric Citroën Méhari in the south of France

Directly derived from the popular 2CV, the Citroën Méhari is an open-air car produced between 1968 and 1987. To be in step with the times and follow the fashion for electrification of transport, a French company designed a 100% electric Mehari car. Founded by the Marques brothers in 1982, Méhari Club Cassis has developed its niche in the field of restoration of Méhari and other Citroën models.

In 2017, a first 100% electric Méhari, called Eden, was manufactured and homologated. Passing through the south of France, the car guide visited the factory where Citroën reproduction parts are made and took the opportunity to drive a Méhari along the winding roads of Cassis on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea.

A real electric car

The Méhari Eden is a genuine electric car. It is equipped with a 15 kW (20 horsepower) engine. You’ll agree, it’s not very powerful. It can reach a top speed of 90 km/h, a few kilometers per hour less than the old petrol Méhari. In terms of legislation, the Méhari Eden is considered an off-road vehicle, we were told. So he cannot drive on the road.

Photo: Germain Goyer

Thanks to a lithium battery, it can travel up to 90 kilometers on a full charge. Be aware that the idea is not to compete with a Tesla Model S. The battery is placed under the rear case that serves as the trunk. The latter will allow you to carry your bathing suit, your pair of sandals and a small cooler, nothing more. The charging port is also on the back.

Among the differences with a petrol Méhari, we highlight the addition of a transverse pillar for safety and structural rigidity, as well as the three-point belt for the four occupants… and the USB sockets! Note that to the left of the single display under the driver’s eyes has been placed an indicator displaying the remaining range in percentage.

Photo: Germain Goyer

like a toy

Can’t imagine being able to drive a Méhari Eden every day, especially in winter! It’s more of a toy or promotional item. In fact, on the spot, we were told that this absolutely cute little vehicle was popular with large hotel complexes or large property owners in particular.

As soon as you board the Méhari Eden, you smile stupidly. It’s small, it’s rudimentary and a little homey, but it’s so cute!. To start, simply turn the key after depressing the clutch pedal. Yes, although it is electric, it has manual transmission. Plus, just like with the electric Jeep Wrangler prototype called the Magneto 2.0 we drove this spring, there’s no need to gradually disengage. You can release the clutch in one go and the vehicle will not stop. You have to get used to it. Although the gearbox has four gears, you can select third and stay there most of the time. An automatic transmission is also offered.

Photo: Germain Goyer

Our pleasure grows with the miles. Needless to say, the Méhari Eden is silent. In fact, we only hear what is happening around given the vehicle’s opening.

You should also know that it doesn’t have brake assist or power steering. Considering the lightness of the front, it’s not a big challenge to overcome. Behind the wheel of the Méhari Eden, it really is like driving a life-size toy. Pleasure guaranteed!

small scale production

At the current rate of production, the Eden division assembles an electric Méhari on average a week, but for now, it takes a year to get one. Also, there’s nothing accessible about it. In fact, you need to pay no less than 35,000 euros (just over $46,000) to get your hands on such a car.

Consumers can choose from the six colors originally offered on the old model, namely: Tibesti Green, Montana Green, Atacama Yellow, Kyrgyz Orange, Hoggar Beige and Azure Blue. Then, all that remains is to choose from the multitude of colors for the upholstery and the roof and door covers.

See also: Test drive of the Renault 4 Plein Air Terre des Hommes

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