Should this cut-price electric SUV come to NZ?

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Words: Matthew Hansen
16 Oct 2020

Dacia, the cult-status economy car brand of James May ‘great news’ fame has unveiled its first electric car, in the form of the Spring Electric.

Based on the cheapest SUV sold by parent company Renault, the Kwid, the new car’s dirty secret is that it isn’t really a new car at all. It’s effectively a reskinned version of the Renault City K-ZE EV sold, up until now, as a Chinese market exclusive.

Does this render the new model moot? Not really. Among other things, Dacia is claiming that the model could well become the cheapest EV in Europe — a huge coup for the marque should it come to fruition. Pricing has yet to be confirmed, apart from Dacia stating the price will be “unbeatable” as part of the reveal.

Technically, Renault already produces the region’s cheapest EV in the form of the unique little Twizy. The £17,350 Smart EQ fortwo and £17,455 Skoda Citigo-e iV are the cheapest full-size electric cars in the UK, with New Zealand’s cheapest EV — the MG ZS EV — priced at £25,495 for reference.

The Spring Electric dons an electric motor rated at 33kW and 125Nm, which comes paired to a 26.8kWh lithium-ion battery. Its driving range per charge is a claimed 225km on the WLTP cycle and 295km on the WLTP city cycle. No 0–100km/h time is indicated, and top speed is a claimed 125km/h.

Dacia boasts that the model can fit four adults in comfort, while also housing 300 litres of cargo volume in the boot with the seats up and 600 litres with the seats down.

Humble numbers, then, particularly in regards to power and top speed. But it’s worth remembering that the Spring Electric and its extended Kwid family are noted globally for being made to a price to appeal to those who simply want a new car. If you want to buy one in India, for example, pricing starts in petrol models from around $6,000. That’s not a typo.

While it’s highly unlikely, the Spring Electric could well be a model that becomes evaluated for the New Zealand market. Dacia models aren’t sold here of course as Dacias, but the firm’s popular SUV — the Duster — has just joined the Kiwi market badged as a Renault. Perhaps, therefore, a case of never say never?

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