Renault's budget brand has launched Europe's most affordable electric car. There's just one catch...
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The 2021 Dacia Spring EV has launched in Europe as the continent's cheapest electric car, priced from approximately €12,000 (AU$18,500) plus on-road costs in some markets.

However, buyers better not be in a hurry. The Dacia Spring – with Dacia is Renault's Romanian-based budget brand – is slower than a 50-year-old Volkswagen Beetle, according to 0-100km/h times published by the car maker.

The compact 970kg five-seater – which is largely based on the existing India-only Renault Kwid and China's electric Renault City K-ZE – puts out a meagre 33kW/125Nm from its single front-mounted electric motor.

The 0-100km/h ‘sprint’ takes a leisurely 19.1 seconds, on the way to a top speed of just 125km/h. For reference, the 1977 Volkswagen Beetle reached the same speed in just 17.2 seconds.

Voltage is drawn from a 27.4kWh lithium-ion battery pack, permitting a claimed range of 230km on the combined WLTP cycle.

When it goes on sale next week, the Dacia Spring EV will be priced from €12,403 (AU$19,000) in France (when government incentives are taken into account).

For reference, the cheapest electric vehicle currently available in Australia – the MG ZS EV – quotes a starting price almost two-and-a-half times greater, at $43,990 plus on-road costs.