Romania: Dacia officially launches its first electric car, and it will be the cheapest one in Europe

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Automobile Dacia S.A., the Romanian subsidiary of the French Groupe Renault, launched on Thursday its first fully electric model, the low-budget Dacia Spring. While short on range, in will likely prove popular with those who want a clean and affordable alternative for urban and suburban commuting.

The Spring will first appear in the fleet of Zity Car Sharing, also a subsidiary of Renault, in Paris and Madrid. The actual commercial sale of the vehicles is slated to begin in the summer of 2021 in Europe. Its design — somewhat surprisingly for a small urban vehicle — is reminiscent of Dacia’s most popular model, the Dacia Duster.

While its range is a modest 225 kilometers (140 miles), the manufacturer claims it can still comfortably seat four adults, but what clearly sets it apart is the price. While Renault did not yet reveal the price, industry analysts put it at between €15,000 and €16,000 before any subsidies, but most European countries have significant tax rebates and other incentive schemes for fully electric cars.

This means that, for example, in Hungary its price is expected to be 3.3 million forints (€9,000), less than half of its nearest competitor, the Škoda CITIGOe iV, with a price tag of 6.5 million forints (€17,800).

The Renault Group bought the Dacia company back in 1999 and its cheap and robust models have since become bestsellers in many European countries. Its Sandero subcompact made it into the top ten of European car sales this August.

In its home market, Romania, the state subsidy for a fully electric car is RON 45,000, (€9,200), but however cheap the final retail price will be, sales will probably be very much limited to the capital, Bucharest, and a few other major cities which have sufficient electric charging stations for the short-range vehicle to be practical for everyday travel.

There are over 150,000 electric charging stations in Europe — with Norway, France, Germany and Netherlands leading in density — while Romania has just under 1,000, with most of them in Bucharest.    

Title image: Dacia Spring, the company’s first fully electric car.

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