Dacia wants to revolutionize the electric market from below with its Spring at 17,000 euros, competitive with petrol cars for everyday journeys.
Too expensive. Alongside the challenges related to charging stations, the price remains a major brake on electric vehicles, still strongly associated with luxury. Electric cars have indeed attacked the market from the top of the range, as is often the case with new technologies.
We have heard a lot from Tesla on the issue of inexpensive electric vehicle, with the ambition of a Tesla at $ 25,000 still far from being achieved. The manufacturer’s Model 3s currently start around 48,000 euros on its Belgian site.
Dacia, entry-level automotive leader, does not want to be pawned. The Renault group subsidiary wants to be the leader in affordable electric vehicles with its Spring “made in China”, orders for which open on April 15 in Belgium, for deliveries in September.
It is obviously a much more modest vehicle than a Tesla. It has 230 WLTP kilometers of autonomy (305 kilometers in the urban cycle). But it’s still a car capable of meeting most of the mobility needs of Belgians, apart from the great transhumance.
With a price of 17,000 euros, the Dacia Spring rivals many thermal vehicles, especially if we take into account a lower fuel cost (but variable depending on your place of recharging) and less expensive maintenance.
The price is all the more interesting as most electrical novelties are above 30,000 euros, like the Peugeot e-208, the Volkswagen ID3, the MG ZS, the Kona Electric or the Mini Electric.
The electric car is perfectly suited to the city, we hear for years. However, few brands are attacking this specific segment of city cars, the A segment, which has so far been badly handled in Europe. “With all that is imposed on us as regulations, we are struggling to integrate this technology at a reasonable price”, explains Karl Schuybroeck, director of communications at Renault Benelux.
“The electric Twingo and Dacia Spring are not intended to do a lot of kilometers. It could be the second household vehicle.”
It’s the paradox of current ecological and security constraints. Producing a cleaner and safer car costs more and more money. The trend is therefore to drop more and more small city cars for more profitable models., including SUVs in all their forms. The thermal Twingo is entering its end of life and will not be renewed. A similar fate should await the Citroën C1, its cousin the Peugeot 108 and the Volkswagen Up.
However, Renault believes that with A-segment electric cars, who do not embark not too large batteries, this segment may still make sense.
On the market, a beginning of the range of pure electric city cars is therefore emerging, with the bet that a certain acceptance of a more limited autonomy is emerging. We think of the electric Fiat 500, which should start at 24,000 euros in its version with the lowest range (180 km). Renault is also testing the waters with its electric Twingo at 20,000 euros, for 190 km of autonomy.
“The electric Twingo and the Dacia Spring are not intended to cover a lot of kilometers. It may be the second household vehicle.e “, considers Karl Schuybroek.
The opinion is not shared by everyone in the industry. “The problem is, a household’s second car is always someone’s first,” we often hear.
Disappearance of the e-Up
Until recently, electric cars the cheapest on the market were the electric Seat Mii and the Skoda Citigo e iV. Two vehicles costing around 20,000 euros which were simply removed from the catalogs by the Volkswagen group.
These two cars are derivatives of the Volkswagen brand e-Up. It is still marketed in Europe for a time in certain key electric markets. But don’t look for it in Belgium, where the vehicle is no longer sold as an electric motor. Volkswagen is putting the package on its ID.3, a vehicle also above 30,000 euros.
“We are also developing a completely dedicated business car sharing solution for the Dacia Spring.”
Seat announced this Monday to return in 2025 with an electric city car which should be a small urban crossover. For now, the brand therefore no longer has an electric vehicle in the range. In Belgium, however, this vehicle was selling well. “There was a fairly constant demand, especially for company fleets,” says Dirk Steyvers, spokesperson for Seat Belgium.
The reality on the ground is that the electric vehicle remains for the moment mainly sold as a company car in Belgium. From a fiscal point of view, an electric company car is attractive. The companies are more used to calculating the cost per month of an all-inclusive vehicle and install terminals on site or at home. They can therefore largely do without public infrastructure.
“We are also developing a completely dedicated ‘business car sharing’ solution for the Dacia Spring,” explains Schuybroek. According to him, companies would be more and more inclined to switch to fleets of shared electric cars and a Dacia Spring would have its place there. A first major partnership has been signed in France, where the Dacia Springs will be rented at 7 euros per day from Leclerc all inclusive.
Did you say too expensive?