Finally, an affordable EV, but we’ll never get it

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Car-share and delivery van options due for what is claimed to be Europe’s most affordable electric car.

The Dacia Spring Electric, said to be Europe’s most affordable EV, has gone on sale in France priced from €12,403 (AUD$19,000) after that country’s generous EV incentives, something that is not offered in Australia.

The French government currently offers a grant to buyers of sub-€45,000 (AUD$70,000) EVs amounting to 27 per cent of the cost of purchase, including tax – and a further €2500 (AUD$3800) if the EV is bought in exchange for an older combustion car to be scrapped.

Pre-orders for the four-seat passenger car open on 20 March, while a two-seat commercial variant will be introduced in 2022.

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Two trim levels are available from launch: entry-level Confort, which features air conditioning, a 3.5in media display with Bluetooth, a USB port and cloth upholstery as standard, or Confort Plus which adds a 7.0in infotainment display with smartphone mirroring functionality, an orange-themed interior styling pack and metallic exterior paint.

The Chinese-made Spring will be offered across mainland Europe initially, with car-sharing company Zity a primary customer. It is not confirmed for sale in the UK as yet, however Dacia has previously claimed the car is “being evaluated” for the possibility of a right-hand drive version for UK markets.

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Previewed by a concept in 2019 and based on parent company Renault’s Chinese-market City K-ZE, the Spring has been designed for use in urban areas in both passenger and cargo forms – the latter designed for last-mile city deliveries. It uses an electric motor that makes 33kW and 125Nm, fed by a 26.8kWh battery.

This gives it a 225km range on the WLTP combined cycle and the ability to fast-charge at a rate of up to 30kW from a CCS DC charger. The top speed is limited to 100km/h and the turning circle is a mere 4.8 metres.

The Spring is 3.73 metres long – 0.35 metres shorter than Dacia’s new Sandero supermini – yet the firm claims it has room for four adults. The boot is 300 litres, increasing to 600 litres when the rear seats are folded down, plus there’s 23 litres of storage in the front.

The car-sharing version of the Spring will be offered in select European countries and will come with durable artificial leather seats and 14in wheels. Meanwhile, the van will forgo rear seats to offer 800 litres of luggage capacity and a 1033mm load length.

James Attwood

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