Is Dacia going to change the stakes for electric mobility?
Last week, Renault presented its eVision, or how the former frontrunner of electric mobility wants to play its role again. One of the most important schemes in the new strategy could be the Dacia Spring venue, in fact, a copy of a small, cheap electric car the company is selling in China as the City K-ZE.
Not so long ago, everybody thought electric propulsion would be the last thing to think about from a low-cost manufacturer like Dacia, Renault’s ‘cheaper’ daughter that has done better than expected in the last fifteen years.
It now has a small but interesting portfolio covering practically all kinds of vehicles that can interest a public with restrained financial means but still keen to have its own private vehicle. Why should it bother to have such an expensive product (until now) as a pure electric vehicle?
But at Dacia, they’ve turned the question upside down. Why wouldn’t they be able to produce an interesting electric vehicle for half the price of the others? They even found an interesting small EV inside their own house, the tiny SUV-like City K-ZE, which is already sold in China.
Enter the Dacia Spring, a Europeanised version of this K-ZE. The price will turn around €15 000 when it comes to the market in the spring of next year, suggesting that in some countries with interesting incentives for EVs, the price could be as low as €10 000.
For comparison, the cheapest electric cars on the market in Europe at the moment are the small VW trio (Seat, Skoda, VW) and the just arrived Twingo Electric (half-brother of the Smart Forfour), all on the wrong side of 20 000 euros.
To buy or share
Dacia will immediately propose two versions of the Spring. One, slightly more sophisticated, is destined for individual buyers; the other one, very basic, will be made available to car-sharing companies.
Of course, this is not the EV ‘racer’ we are used to when talking about electric mobility. The Spring is basic transport for the urban and suburban area. With its little motor, its lack of (too many) driving aids and comfort accessories, and a relatively small battery pack of 26,8 kWh capacity, it succeeds to keep its weight under the magic 1-ton bar (995 kg), a real achievement.
In its natural habitat around town, it will be quick enough offline, fast enough (top speed 125 kph), and have enough breath (225 km WLTP range) to satisfy most of its potential customers. In dense city traffic (WLTP City), the range even flirts with 300 km.
Of course, with its 3,73 m of length, passengers in the rear can’t be too tall or will have to make concessions, but a trunk of 300 liters is fair for such a small car, and taking away the rear bench can augment it up to 800 liters, in a Cargo version reserved for professional use.
Made in China
According to Dacia’s Marketing Director, Mihai Bordeanu, who talked to hotnews.ro, the Dacia Spring will be produced in China. “China is, for sure, the largest market for electric cars at the moment. It has a fully developed ecosystem and allows us to bring Spring to Europe as soon as possible.”
The Spring will be produced alongside the Renault City K-ZE in Shiyan, China. The factory is run by eGT New Energy Automotive, the Alliance Renault/Nissan’s Chinese joint venture, and the Chinese manufacturer Dongfeng.