The electric DS

The Citroen club held its monthly meeting at the Tesla showroom, where club members got to test drive the model S.   As well as seeing the Model S, one of the members of the club brought along his electric DS to compare with the Tesla.   I have to say I was very impressed with what he had done with the car.   Not only is it 100% electric, but he has managed to preserve the character of the DS.  This includes the hydraulic system.

electric DS

From the outside the car looks like a stock DS, albeit with some additional buttons on the dash and an LCD screen.   Once you open the bonnet though, you see the array of battery packs that give the car about 110km range (with more tweaks to come).   There are some very clever solutions in this car, that were well displayed at the blog maintained by owner Aldo Grech.    There are also additional batteries under the back seat where the fuel tank used to be.

The Electric DS has a separate electric motor that runs the hydraulic pump, so given the car has no engine, when you get in the car, the motor and pump spring to life to provide hydraulic pressure to raise the car.   Because the excellent disc brakes on the DS are inboard and part of the assembly that includes the transmission and differential, this car retains the gearbox, but not the clutch.   This means that gears can be used to change the dynamic between acceleration and economical cruising.   The car normally stays in 2nd gear while cruising and 3rd when being used on the open road.

I was fortunate enough to go for a ride in the car, and it rides along like any other DS, the main difference being the lack of engine noise, and the lack of engine heat coming through the firewall.

It was interesting to compare this car to the Tesla.   In some ways, they are very similar.   Both were hugely ground breaking on release, both are aerodynamic sedans that pack in all the latest technology and trying to attract a buyer with something a bit different.

There is even a nice comparison between the original DS and the Tesla on youtube:

I would encourage anyone with a spare 30 minutes to read through Aldo’s blog and see some of the interesting solutions he has come up with to create a usable electric car out of a classic DS.

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