Citroen Announces Production Plans for Wacky E-Mehari Beach Cruiser
Four-Seat Open Electric Hits French Roads in 2016
Remember the Citroen Cactus M from this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show? That carefree, all-electric sand comber designed to evoke the Citroen 2CV Mehari? From the moment we laid eyes on the Cactus M, all we could think about was moving to the Mediterranean coast and spending all our time kite surfing and camping out of the back of the little electric beach buggy.
Well, for those who live in France, that idyllic fantasy is one step closer to reality, as Citroen announced plans to build the E-Mehari, a production vehicle directly inspired by the Cactus M concept. Based on architecture from French electric-vehicle manufacturer Bolloré, the E-Mehari gets the Cactus M’s flexible plastic bodyshell, waterproof interior, and vibrant color palette, and its twin roll hoops take inspiration from the concept’s forward-swooping basket handle. With ribbed bodysides and basketweave-looking upholstery, the E-Mehari looks every bit like a modern version of its namesake.
As on the Cactus M (and original Mehari), weather protection for the E-Mehari’s passengers is minimal. A soft top stretches from the windshield header to the rearmost rollbar, and fabric extensions roll down from the soft top to cover the front windows, rear windows, or the whole car. It’s certainly no Range Rover Evoque convertible, prioritizing simplicity over luxury. We’re cool with that.
Also high on Citroen’s primacy list is fun. On that front, the E-Mehari is going to be a knockout. Four body colors are available (“blue, as an invitation to get away from it all, orange to convey a sense of energy and optimism, an invigorating yellow and an elegant beige,” to hear Citroen tell it). Those four body colors combine with two roof colors (black or orange-red) and two interior choices (beige or orange-red). All told, there are 16 different permutations for carefree sun-worshippers to choose from. Additionally, the interior is fully waterproof, something any beachgoer will appreciate. For the record, we’ll have our E-Mehari in blue, with a black roof and a beige interior.
With an all-electric powertrain, the E-Mehari is capable of 124 miles per charge, with a top speed of about 68 mph. The lithium metal polymer batteries are exceptionally weatherproof, and the E-Mehari will recharge from a French 10-amp domestic socket in 13 hours. Public charging stations, which use a 16-amp current, recharge the E-Mehari in eight hours.
As is befitting of such a goofy vehicle, Citroen revealed the E-Mehari via a bizarre YouTube video, embedded below. Apparently, hip young things like their cars served with a nauseating amount of kitsch. Those drawn in by the advertisement can take delivery of the E-Mehari starting in 2016 (if you live in France, of course).
If an E-Mehari were to make it to our shores, we think it’d be a perfect fit for places like Catalina Island, Maui, or Puerto Rico, but don’t expect it to come to the U.S. Citroen likely won’t reenter the American market in the near future, and if it does, it would probably be with mainstream crossovers and sedans, not a niche beach cruiser. Still, we can dream…