A splash of modernity: Peugeot BB1 takes design to a new level

THE quaint BB1, hot off the drawing board of Peugeot, is the company's latest interpretation of a lightweight urban compact electric car. It is just 2.5 metres long and capable of transporting four people.

Featuring solutions and technologies inspired by the motorcycle world, the BB1 has a 3.5m turning circle, allowing the driver to manoeuvre into tight corners and to park perpendicular to the pavement.

With its bold styling lines at the front, large glazed surface area and extended wheel arches, the car represents a major move away from current vehicle styling. The design of the passenger compartment has drawn inspiration from two-wheeled vehicles in terms of ergonomics and controls. The driver controls the vehicle by adopting a novel driving position and holds onto handle bars, like on a scooter. There are no pedals.

Access to the vehicle is through the reverse opening doors, while the load area access is through an innovative tailgate. The interior can be transformed as required to offer a load volume of up to 160 litres (with four occupants), or 855 litres.

Two electric motors are mounted in the rear wheels to produce 20bhp. The power is provided by two lithium-ion battery packs giving a range of 120 kilometers.

The passenger compartment ventilation operates in daylight by means of solar panels placed on the roof. These panels also provide 16 per cent of energy used to power some of the vehicle's systems.

» Worried about city parking? Then think Smart. The Smart For Two range is a real spacesaver with most continental owners parking it facing the kerb.

The latest Highstyle edition is finished in trendy chocolate brown metallic and has a well-equipped interior. Available solely as a coupé only 215 of the Highstyle will be available in right-hand-drive so there will be a rush by interested Irish and UK owners. Of these 180 will have a 71bhp (mhd) engine and 33 a turbocharged 84bhp unit. The exterior finish includes 12-spoke 15" alloy wheels.

The fashionable theme continues inside with heated leather seats and leather steering wheel. The standard audio and navigation system is from Pioneer and Bluetooth is included. The Smart For Two Highstyle will cost about €16,000 – €18,000.