Since the beginning of 2022, the Citroën Berlingo has only been offered with an electric engine on the European market, with thermal versions remaining available in other countries. If the Berlingo's recent restyling left only a 100% electric version with increased autonomy, it is possible that Citroën will reintroduce the thermal versions in Europe in the coming months.
Europe is forcing car manufacturers to meet CO2 emission quotas or face heavy fines that can quickly run into millions of euros. In fact, the European Union imposes a fine of €100 per vehicle sold on manufacturers who fail to comply with the maximum emission quotas allocated to them, each quota based on sales in previous years.
This respect for standards, combined with production bottlenecks that have extended delivery times beyond reason, has led the Stellantis group to stop producing thermal engines for its MPVs, including the Citroën Berlingo. Instead, the group's brands offered an electric motor using the Citroën C4's engine/battery unit, which offered a range of 280 km, but which, although it enhanced the Berlingo's comfort by adding smoothness and quietness without compromising performance, was a little tight for a vehicle whose versatility also called for long distances. With the restyling of the Berlingo, Citroën has decided to offer a new 50 kWh battery with a revised chemistry and a switch to the less expensive LFP technology, in addition to a firmer style and improved comfort, allowing the Berlingo to claim a range of 320 km, which can meet the daily needs of consumers. However, this may not be enough for those who use the Berlingo as a family car for long journeys, especially at weekends or on holiday.
This is why Citroën is considering reintroducing a thermal engine for the 2024 Berlingo to meet consumer demand, now that the production problems have been resolved and delivery times are reasonable. But which engine would return to the Berlingo?
A 48V hybrid offer to favour
Citroën continues to market the Berlingo outside Europe in a thermal version with petrol and diesel engines, but the level of the penalty, particularly in France, would clearly penalise consumers who have to pay high taxes.
The solution would be to offer the latest 136 bhp Puretech hybrid engine, which allows the car to run on 100% electric power for short distances, reducing fuel consumption and emissions. This engine, recently tested by Passionnément Citroën on the C5 Aircross (see HERE), works wonders, allowing you to drive half of your urban journeys in electric mode, thus reducing emissions. Since the Berlingo is built on the same platform as the C5 Aircross, the adoption of the engine and the battery should not be a problem, without compromising the MPV's practicality and modularity, which are among its strongest points.
For the moment, Citroën is not communicating on the return of thermal engines, but the brand's configurator in France shows that this return is possible, since alongside the new ë-Berlingo appears the new Berlingo, which we can assume to be in thermal version. This return is therefore neither official nor certain, but all signs point to it being the case, which would allow the brand to regain ground in a segment that it has always dominated since the launch of the first generation of the Berlingo in 1996 and which will ensure a high level of sales until 2022.
In conclusion, the appearance of a photo of the Berlingo, without the electric version, on the brand's website in France could therefore suggest that thermal versions could make a comeback on the Berlingo. The solution would therefore be for Citroën to offer the Puretech Hybrid 136 engine, a mild hybridisation which has the advantage of being less costly for the consumer and, for them, a first step towards the electrification required by the European Union and offered by Citroën across its entire range by 2030. Supporting consumers in their energy transition with a first step on a light hybrid engine is why Citroën wants to be a popular brand, close to people and their needs.