The first “tasting” of the cheapest electric car. Dacia Spring will also bring a large purchase

Dacia Spring is small and light. Therefore, a relatively small battery and an engine with only 44 horsepower are enough for a relatively solid range.

The first Dacie Spring has already arrived in the Czech Republic. We tried one of them

| Photo: Radek Pecák

Some things are weird in Dacia Spring, which is currently the cheapest all-electric full-size car. For example, the massive rails, which are supplied as standard, are on the roof just to improve the appearance. They have no function at all. The classic parking brake lever is also far more important in this car than in most other cars.

You can see the car with all the details in our annotated photo gallery.

I will explain why this is the case: While in a classic car with an internal combustion engine and a manual transmission I can only engage one of the gears after stopping on the plane and select “P” mode in a car with an automatic system, in the new Dacia everything is much more complicated. The drive can be switched off after stopping with a standard key. However, only if you turn the rotary selector on the center console from “deck” to “enko” (neutral). In this case, however, the car is not braked and can start moving spontaneously. Just like it happened to me when I got out of the gently sloping parking lot to take a fellow journalist behind the wheel during a short test drive. Fortunately, I reached for the brake lever quite quickly and no one and nothing suffered any damage.

Otherwise, however, the Dacia Spring is a car that also has a chance of success in our (electrically not yet promised parts). It has a relatively pleasing appearance with the shapes of a small city SUV, solid equipment suitable for use on short journeys and a car with a length of only 3734 millimeters surprisingly spacious trunk. It has a volume of 290 liters and under the bottom there is even space to store a full-fledged spare wheel. This is because the high-voltage battery no longer interferes with it. It is under the rear seats, ie where the fuel tank is usually in a car of the classic concept. It’s just a pity that the designers no longer invented a special place to store charging cables.

There would be room for them under the front hood. The electric drive system, which is located here, does not fill the space between the front mask and the cabin.

For the first acquaintance, I had a fully equipped version available. That is, including a multimedia system with navigation and a parking camera. And also the possibility of charging with direct current, which is always for a ten-thousand surcharge. Otherwise, the standard Dacia Spring is equipped with manual air conditioning, six airbags, central locking or electric control of the front and rear windows. The price also includes a three-year warranty limited to 100,000 kilometers. The battery warranty is traditionally eight years, but to cover it, it cannot exceed 120,000 kilometers. During this time, the battery capacity should be at least 75 percent of the initial level.

Its usable capacity is 27.4 kWh. This is really not much in competition with other new electric cars on offer, but it is necessary to take into account the fact that the Dacia Spring does not weigh even a whole ton (exactly 970 kilograms). It can carry only four people and its electric motor has an output of only 44 horsepower. Because of this, you won’t get any impressive driving performance. You can drive at a maximum speed of 125 kilometers per hour, and accelerating from zero to a hundred takes over nineteen seconds.

For deliveries of children and commuting to work…

I tested the car only on the roads south of Prague, where it was allowed a maximum of ninety. However, the car did not look lazy during the two-man starts, and it was quite willing to listen to the accelerator pedal up to some seventy kilometers per hour.

You do not have the option to set recuperation. However, when the foot is removed from the accelerator pedal, the car decelerates relatively slowly. The braking effect was also natural when the pedal was depressed and gradually increased. Many other electric cars can’t do that.

The intended urban use corresponds to a somewhat more strengthened steering and softly adjusted chassis. Although it will cross tram tracks and canal culverts with a pleasant swing, but in corners it means greater inclinations of the body. Personally, I’m quite happy that the car has only one safety assistant. This means emergency braking in front of an obstacle in front. So there is no need to turn off the (for many annoying) lane keeping system, on the other hand, nothing will warn you that you should not enter a side lane, because there is another car hidden in a blind spot nearby.

When starting the test drive, the on-board computer display showed a range of 218 kilometers when the Eco mode was switched on (due to engine power limitations) and a 95 percent charge level. After returning to the starting point and the finish line, it was only 84 percent after seventeen kilometers, and the car promised the possibility of completing another 177 kilometers. However, it is true that we did not drive an ecological car and, moreover, at an outdoor temperature of only 7 degrees, we of course switched on the heating and switched off the mentioned ECO economy mode. The average consumption was still a relatively solid 14.6 kWh per 100 kilometers. With a little effort, it is certainly possible to drive two hundred kilometers with a car on a single charge, which is not very far from the officially stated range of 230 kilometers.

An electric car with such a small battery can still be charged from a classic 230 V home socket. It will take fourteen hours to reach full capacity from scratch, but it will probably rarely happen that you get home with a completely depleted battery. It then takes less than five hours from the wallbox and with the mentioned additional fast charging (power is a maximum of 30 kW) up to eighty percent under an hour.

The first pieces of the car coming off the production line in China have already arrived at the dealers. There you can also arrange a test drive. Prices have risen slightly compared to those announced in April this year. However, the basic version costs only CZK 454,900, the better-equipped Comfort plus version comes to CZK 496,900.

Next year, a variant designed for car-sharing platforms will also arrive, and those interested will also be able to order a utility variant. It is, of course, only two-seater and loads weighing up to 300 kilograms can be loaded behind the front seats.

We will bring a full-fledged test of the car, during which we will of course also focus on the motorway and test the range in a purely urban environment, on the Automix.cz website at the beginning of December.

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