► Dacia Spring Electric shows 2021's small EV
► It's a production car with concept graphics, though
► Potential best-seller may not reach UK?
It would be great if the Dacia Spring Electric really did look like this concept when launched, injecting some funky futurism into the primarily budget-focused marque - but when it's so close to a production car, it's hard to imagine Dacia diverting far from the existing model.
In fact, Dacia's great new low-cost EV, the Spring Electric, is Renault's well-established City K-ZE, itself based on the 2018 facelift Renault Kwid. That's a compact (3.7m long) SUV that's sold in developing markets, such as India and Brazil. They also get the Duster-based Oroch pickup - so a Renault-badged-as-a-Dacia for developing electric markets seems only fair...
While the Dacia Spring lacks the 'it'll never reach production like this' excitement of typical motorshow concepts, there's an advantage to this lights-and-stripes makeover - we can be pretty sure of the production specs.
Electric cars coming soon
Does the UK dream of electric Springs?
A high-riding (the Kwid's ground clearance is 184mm), affordable, rugged-looking electric city car sounds like the ideal remedy to Britain's inability to give up SUVs in the face of rising CO2 - and compared with models like the Smart EQ Forfour or MINI Electric, the Dacia Spring Electric sounds like a winner.
Somewhere in China (Hubei actually - you might have heard of it recently), Dacia's parent company Renault and partner firm Dongfeng have been producing the Renault City K-ZE since April 2019. Equipped with a 44hp electric motor and a 28.6kWh battery, the high-riding supermini-sized EV is quoted as having a range of 168 miles, but that's under NEDC testing. Dacia say that the Spring Electric will have a WLTP range of 124 miles when it goes on sale in 2021.
As there's a production model to look at, it seems like a fair assumption that the interior won't diverge from the existing design, which features a small acreage of robust-looking charcoal plastic and an 8.0-inch infotainment screen. The usual EV benefits of smartphone control and monitoring are present, too.
What Dacia has said is that the Spring's quad-LED rear lights, with a double-Y motif, foreshadow future production car styling, and it features LED headlights. The upper lights are similar to the slim units fitted to Renault's existing model, so that seems unlikely to change.
It would be great if the Spring Electric came with the unusual rubber boot-print patterned grille, side and arch protectors, complete with neon highlights, but we'll accept the regulation black plastic. If we must.
Will it be a genuinely affordable EV?
It's very likely to be the cheapest EV with more four seats and over 100 mile range in Europe; Renault's Zoe is well established, but with the end of battery leasing has become rather more expensive. Domestic-market pricing for the City K-ZE, adjusted for typical European levels and taxation, could put the Dacia Spring Electric under £16,000. It's not a bad looking car, either, with all the right cues for the UK's crossover-obsessed buyers.
Cheapest electric cars 2020
Assuming it does make it here. For France, Renault's introduced an electric version of the Twingo; perhaps the UK's fondness for SUVs means we're more likely to see the Dacia. As yet, it's uncomfirmed which areas of Europe will get Spring.
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