On the sidelines of the Renault Twingo tests in the Paris region, Dacia has just unveiled its first electric car. The Dacia Spring SUV will be seen as the most affordable model on the market.
Article written by Driss Abdi
Renault gathered the press in Meudon to test the new 100% electric Twingo. The opportunity for the manufacturer to exhibit his concept car Mégane eVision which could become an electric Mégane from next year, the new Renault Arkana, an SUV that will be available in a plug-in hybrid version, and the whole e-Tech range which is already on the market.
Dacia also took advantage of the event to lift the veil on its very first electric car. A vehicle that follows the current market trend and therefore takes the form of a Compact SUV. Baptized Dacia Spring, the car displays contained dimensions with a length of 3.73 meters and 1.62 meters wide. A model designed for travel in urban areas, especially as the Dacia Spring announces a robbery in barely ten meters.
Dacia Spring, an SUV tailored for the city
No miracle on the side of the autonomy of the Dacia Spring which is announced at 225 km on the WLTP cycle, and up to 295 km on the WLTP City cycle which concerns strictly urban use by taking advantage of the regenerative braking phases. Values close to those of the new electric Twingo which promises 190 km in mixed use, and 270 km in “City” mode according to Renault. Figures that can be explained by the integration ofa battery of modest capacity in both vehicles: 22 kWh for the Renault and 26.8 kWh for the Dacia Spring. The latter is equipped with a 33 kW electric motor equivalent to 44 hp which delivers 125 Nm of instant torque. Modest values but which nevertheless correspond to current uses, namely an average distance of around 30 km per day in France. On paper, it will therefore be possible to drive electric by recharging only once a week. On the other hand, for longer journeys or journeys mainly on motorways, it is yet another story.
Another advantage of the Dacia Spring configuration besides its price, recharge time is reduced. The builder announces less than an hour to regain 80% capacity on a Wallbox or public DC charging installations with a power of 30 kW. Likewise, a full charge on a single AC outlet at home or in the office is announced at 2 p.m.
Note that the charging socket hatch takes place at the front of the vehicle, just below the Dacia logo. A practical detail that allows you not to wonder on which side to park when refueling with Watts.
Dacia Spring, a vehicle in tune with the times
Taking all the codes of the SUV, the Dacia Spring moves away from its origins of low-cost, at least in appearance. The vehicle will not come to mismatch next to competing models. Evidenced by its 3D grille that stretches to the headlights which adopt LED daytime running lights and remote projectors in the shield. Technology that is also found at the rear with a rather successful C signature. By the way, note that the narrow tires are mounted on 14 inch rims to limit rolling resistance.
On closer inspection, however, certain details are not mistaken, starting with the door handles borrowed from the Dacia Sandero with the lock from another time. But it is especially on the inside that the savings are revealed. The interior is a simple copy / paste of the Sandero again, with digital instrumentation adapted to the electric motor of the Dacia Spring. Thus, a small screen takes place between the two counters which have been redesigned for the occasion: a power gauge on the left, and the battery level with the gear engaged on the right. The central screen displays various information such as speed, battery level in percent, remaining autonomy and temperature.
The color infotainment screen revolves arounda seven-inch touchscreen whose very basic interface displays an already dated design. It will nevertheless be possible to take advantage of the most advanced systems today with Android Auto and CarPlay which will be offered as an option. What to replace the standard display by replicating smartphone applications. On the audio side, the Dacia Spring has to be content with two speakers at the front. On the other hand, the reversing radar and even the reversing camera are available.
The infotainment screen is surrounded by buttons. On the top, there is direct access to the volume control and a USB type A port. Below take place the electric window controls among others. Finally, the heating and manual air conditioning are easily accessible. Even lower, the central console accommodates a storage compartment with a 12-volt outlet and the automatic gearbox selector.
No miracle either in terms of the finish which is based on hard plastics. The cabin can accommodate four passengers who will have a reduced space due to the dimensions of the vehicle, especially in width. In the rear seats, the knee room is correct for passengers up to 1.80 m with adequate headroom. The trunk which offers a volume of 300 liters can even push up to 600 liters by folding down the rear 1/1 bench seat.
Finally, like any electric vehicle today, the Dacia Spring comes with off-board features to know the state of the charge at any time, start or stop charging and activate the passenger compartment preconditioning.
Price and availability of the Dacia Spring
Outraged the standard Dacia Spring which is expected next year, two other versions will be offered, starting with a so-called cargo version. Intended for professionals, it will have a loading volume of 800 liters and a payload of 325 kg. More stripped down, it will have to be content with a Bluetooth connection only.
Finally, the first Dacia Spring to hit the market at the end of the year will be reserved for car-sharing services. Taking the characteristics of the standard version, it adopts in particular a specific TEP upholstery and an additional protective filter on the bodywork.
On the price side, if Dacia promises that the Spring will be the most affordable electric car on the market, no amount has been communicated for the moment.