Our Cheapest Electric Cars Could Be Way Cheaper

Illustration for article titled Our Cheapest Electric Cars Could Be Way Cheaper
Photo: Dacia

While Volkswagen is content to give Europe a $25,000 EV in 2025, Germans can get one for $13,000 right now. The Dacia Spring might list for €20,490 (about $24,000 USD), but that price takes a nosedive after a very healthy government incentive.

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Yes, Germans do get more than $11,000 off the price of this new car, as Auto Motor und Sport explains:

Dacia emphasizes the low maintenance requirements for the electric drive: The manufacturer gives a three-year guarantee on the Spring (or up to 100,000 kilometers), while the battery has an eight-year guarantee (or up to 120,000 kilometers). In addition, the manufacturer confidently speaks of the lowest total cost of ownership on the market. The Spring can now be ordered, with deliveries to begin in the second half of the year. The Dacia Spring Electric starts at a base price of 20,490 euros. After deducting the €9,570 environmental bonus, the Spring starts at just €10,920. 

We’ve written about Germany’s electric car incentives before, notably around the start of 2021 when Smart EVs were almost free. One company was offering them for lease at a hefty €9.90 a month. Germany is going all-in on EVs, in part because Volkswagen is going heavy on electrics to dig its name out of Dieselgate, and in larger part because it lets Germany get away with having a huge auto industry but also having to face pressure over climate change. European countries that don’t make cars want internal-combustion engine vehicles banned altogether, so Germany has to find some kind of transition.

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Photo: Dacia
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Photo: Dacia

Is the Dacia Spring a car that you, an American, would want if it was sold here? It’s hard to say. The car comes with a spritely 33 kW electric motor, which converts to about 44 horsepower. Range is rated at 225 to 295 km on European cycles, which is only about 140 to 183 miles depending on if you’re driving in the city or on the highway.

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This is more like the EVs that were on the market before Tesla started raising our expectations for power and range. I guess this Dacia priced like one, too.

Contrast this to the EV market we have in America and it’s clear that we’re just not scraping down to the bottom of the barrel. We even cut off GM (and Tesla!) from tax credits, and the cheapest thing we can get is a Mini Cooper EV for $18,750, and that’s in California only, as Automobile reports. Making 181 HP, (but only covering 110 miles of range) that Mini is a luxury car next to the Dacia. If we’re ever going to get our adoption figures for EVs up, we’re going to have to put much slower, cheaper cars on sale.

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Photo: Dacia

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.

DISCUSSION

whatthehellisgracielawdoinghere
whatthehellisgracielawdoinghere

The entire premise of this article is wrong. The car is not cheaper. It still costs the same. The consumer is just being subsidized by other tax payers.

This does the opposite of driving actual cost of the vehicle down and in fact helps keep vehicle pricing high to lock in profit at the expense of tax payers. The Model 3 Performance cost 80k when the subsidies were high. At its low when those subsidies ended you could get one for 54k.