Renault's low-cost subsidiary brand, Dacia, says it is going to launch "Europe's most affordable all-electric" vehicle in early 2021.
Dacia is the same brand that sells the rugged little Duster 4x4, and which has nabbed a claimed 5.8 million sales in Europe since it relaunched in 2004.
The company showed the production-ready concept, called Spring Electric, earlier this week. It's a high-riding compact hatchback designed to bring EV tech to a new audience.
The Spring Electric is decked out in the classic concept-car accoutrements including pastel grey paint; orange highlights on the wheels, bumper, doors, and mirrors; skid plates; and LED lighting that "previews future of Dacia’s design".
But beneath all this garnish it is actually a familiar road car. That car is the Chinese Renault K-ZE, built by a joint-venture between the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance and Dongfeng.
That car sells in China for as little as 62,000 yuan before incentives, equal to around $13,500 AUD.
The K-ZE is itself a spinoff of the Renault Kwid, a top-seller in developing markets like India and Brazil.
Dacia says the Spring Electric adheres to its brand tenets of making "simple, modern, reliable and affordable" vehicles, just electrified.
"The Spring Electric showcases the next step in its [Dacia's] success story as it continues to change with the times while staying true to its original values," it says.
"Dacia is utilising Groupe Renault’s 10-year experience as pioneer and leader in electric mobility, whose vision is to provide affordable and sustainable mobility accessible to all.
"The production version of the Dacia Spring Electric will be available in the first half of 2021, with a range of more than 124 miles (based on WLTP test procedure) which is perfect for urban and suburban use."
The Renault K-ZE is 3.7 metres long, about the same as a Kia Picanto. It has a decent 300L boot, has a 9.6m turning circle, and a relatively generous 150mm of ground clearance.
It gets a 26.8kWh lithium-ion battery offering a WLTP range of 200km, while an AC charger will recharge the car in four hours, and a DC unit should take it from 30 per cent to 90 per cent in about 30 minutes.
The K-ZE is powered by a modest 33kW and 125Nm motor, giving you a top speed of 105km/h, so it's no speed demon. It's unclear if the Dacia will be more powerful, though for congested cities it shouldn't be a huge problem.
One potential issue is the Kwid's best safety score of three stars (Latin American NCAP), so hopefully Dacia is able to improve this for Europe.
The Dacia Spring Electric is one of two super cheap, micro-sized Groupe Renault EVs to launch in the past week.
The other is the urban-focused Twingo Z.E, a tiny battery-powered runabout that’s ready for a future where combustion engines are banned in population centres.
The Twingo Z.E is a twin to the electric Smart, since Renault and Daimler co-developed them, and has a 22kWh battery pack enabling a city range of 180km.