Auto Tech

Forbidden fruit: Citroën decides to produce a funky electric beach basket

The E-Mehari is a four-seat convertible with 124 miles of urban range, and it's yet another cool car that the US will never see.

The darn thing's even shaped like a picnic basket! How much more lighthearted can you get?

French automaker Citroën has been on a stylistic roll. After conceiving and producing the fantastic C4 Cactus, it's now rolling out a storied nameplate to attach to its latest wacky venture.

The E-Mehari is an all-new electric model that carries a small link to the company's past. The old 1968 Mehari was a four-seat convertible utility vehicle parked atop the internals of another classic, the 2CV. This one doesn't rest atop an old platform, but the overall layout -- four seats, no roof -- remains the same.

Unlike its forebear, the E-Mehari sports a battery-electric drivetrain. Its 30-kilowatt-hour battery is said to be good for about 124 miles in city driving, and the car's top speed is a relatively sedate 68 mph. The battery can be charged in eight hours using a 16-amp European plug. The charge time jumps to 13 hours with a standard socket.

Plastic-coated fabric means dog hair and accidental spills won't stick around forever.


If you have any doubts that this car is for beachcombing, take a look at that interior. Not only is it built to convey a bright, sunny aesthetic, the E-Mehari's plastic-coated fabric is also totally waterproof. Bring a little bit of sand into the cabin? No problem -- just wash it out. Be careful around the electronics, though.

Customization abounds, as well. Buyers can choose from four body colors, two roof colors and two interior colors. You can mix-and-match them to your heart's content or choose from a preselected combination. The E-Mehari goes on sale in France and other European markets in 2016.

This car would sell like gangbusters in California, don't you think?