Dacia, the Romanian auto manufacturer perhaps best loved for it’s cult following Sandero range, has announced plans to launch the cheapest fully electric car in 2021.
“Dacia Spring foreshadows Europe’s most affordable all-electric car.” - Renault
Dacia, a subsidiary of the French car manufacturing giant Renault made the announcement on Facebook, of all places, saying it will launch a striped down version of Renault’s City K-ZE – the Spring Electric - at the Geneva Motor Show in 2021.
Currently, Renault manufactures the City K-ZE in China exclusively for the Chinese market. Interestedly, the City K-ZE is simply the electric version of Renault’s Kwid which is a mini-SUV sold in emerging markets such as Brazil and India.
Dacia is expected to sell the cheapest electric SUV on the market for less than 15,000 EUR, in an attempt to undercut rival Skoda’s Citigo, Seat’s Mii Electric and VW’s e-UP which, with government subsidies can be purchased for around 16,500 EUR.
It should be noted that the Dacia Duster SUV is Europe’s most popular car – bar one.
It is not currently clear where Dacia, which has expensive plants in Romania and Morocco intends to begin production of the Spring Electric. Parent company Renault have production plants in many emerging markets including Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, South Africa, India, Iran and Russia.
If Dacia does indeed bring this car to Europe, it will likely get a good reception. In 2019 the Netherlands became the market leader for battery EV cars, leapfrogging Norway, whilst Germany has become the biggest market for plug-in hybrids.
Perhaps Dacia hopes to boost demand for electric cars in the poorer eastern European states including Romania where electric vehicle sales have been lacklustre. It has been speculated that the Dacia Spring Electric could be marketed for the same price as the Dacia Loga, which is Dacia’s cheapest model.
The Romanian government has made plans to introduce the highest subsidies for electric car purchases of 45,000 RON which is approx. 9,400 EUR. Taken these 3,000 subsides available in Romania, the Electric Spring could be available to Romanians for less than 10,000 EUR.
Dacia Spring Electric… is in line with the Renault Group’s vision to provide affordable and sustainable mobility accessible to all, while respecting the values and philosophy of the Dacia brand. It prefigures a 100% all-electric 4 seats city car offering easier access for the greatest number of people to easier and more virtuous mobility with a 5-door city car that combines simplicity, reliability and accessibility.
We can infer the performance of the Spring Electric based on the performance of the Renault K-ZE, which Renault says has a 250-kilometre (approx. 150 mile) range. Real world performance is less than this, at 190 kilometres (approx. 120 miles).
“The Dacia Spring Electric… is a truly electrifying electric city car that is here to set new trends. The pastel mouse grey body is enhanced with matte splashes of fluorescent orange, with trim along the wings, roof bars, and lower door panel, extra high clearance, skid plates built into the front and rear bumpers. Its assertive SUV style and compact dimensions makes it the ideal vehicle for everyday use with guaranteed peace of mind.”
It should be pointed out that we are talking about the cheapest all-electric SUV in the west. In China, Renault is already selling SUV’s, that are heavily subsidized and with cheaper manufacturing costs for around 9,000 USD, which is between 7,200 and 9,200 EUR.
Regarding functionality, Renault claims the electric car will be easy to charge and require minimal maintenance. Renault have chosen not to reveal the design of the interior of the vehicle but Renault did discuss the expected exterior:
“The pastel mouse grey body is enhanced with matte splashes of fluorescent orange, with trim along with the wings, roof bars, and lower door panel, extra high clearance, skid plates built into the front and rear bumpers. Its assertive SUV style and compact dimensions make it the ideal vehicle for everyday use with guaranteed peace of mind.”
Regarding the lights, Renault has chosen to use full LED lighting headlights at the front which has been installed on to a horizonal strip on the cars upper section and also installed on the bumper. Rear lighten has been designed with another 4 LED lights to create a visual identity of a double-Y.
Other design features include a bonnet that is ribbed and a radiator grille that is solid and specially treated to “express strength and reliability”.
Dacia has announced that it will plan to initially sell the Electric Spring to rider sharing and car sharing programmes with private buyers being offered the Electric Spring at a later date. This is part of the company’s plan to make the Electric Spring ubiquitous on urban city streets.
One downside of this vehicle is that the motor is limited and there will be a top speed of approximately 100 kilometres per hour.
Dacia’s European Chairman spoke earlier about these plans as far back as 2017 and discussed how Dacia planned to leverage the Renault-Nissan Alliance, which has been stressed after the Carlos Ghosn affair, to develop, build and market the electric vehicle technology. Here’s what he had to say:
“We will remain shockingly affordable. We won’t change our brand territory… we will benefit from the Alliance strength and the proven technology – so we can fit that to a Dacia.
“We have all the [electric] technology ready and on the shelf. Being part of the bigger Alliance means when we need a technology, we have it. We don’t have to negotiate.
“We look at when it will be affordable. We stick to our business model and when it is ready and when there is a request, we will plug it.”