Dacia Spring went on sale in France last year
City car would be one of the UK’s cheapest EVs, but Dacia is prioritising European supply
The diminutive Dacia Spring city car – one of Europe’s cheapest EVs – is still on the cards for a UK launch a year since it launched in France, but is unlikely to arrive here before 2024.
The electric supermini, which contributed to Dacia growing its sales by 5.9% in the first half of 2022, is in high demand in its launch markets – with the firm claiming 5000 orders per month from January to June.
But that demand, coupled with issues in Dacia’s supply chain, means that a UK launch has been deprioritised in favour of meeting existing demand.
Dacia’s sales, marketing and operations boss Xavier Martinet told Autocar: “Right now we have a six-month waiting time for our current customers because the demand is higher than expected initially, and we have some supply issues – electrical components mainly.
“We’re focused on trying to shorten that gap. We haven’t given up on Spring for the UK – I don’t think we’ll have it in 2023, and if we have it it should be in 2024. Don’t expect the Spring in the UK in 2022 or 2023.”
Martinet’s comments came after the brand director of Dacia’s UK division, Luke Broad, told Autocar he was still campaigning ardently to import the Spring: “We are fighting tooth and nail with our corporate team to get that car launched here in the UK.
“We don’t have confirmation whether it’s a go yet, because they’re working on fulfilling the huge back order they have in Europe – for me that’s another string to my bow; if it’s an extremely popular car in Europe, then it’s fair to say it will also be extremely popular in the UK.
“There’s no decision on Spring. Hopefully we get it, but in the meantime we will hybridise the Jogger and in the medium- to long-term, you will start to see the hybridisation and electrification of the brand – but only when the customers are ready and it makes sense from a cost perspective.”
The Spring launched in several European markets early last year, but Dacia initially delayed a UK sales decison while it evaluated production capacity and its sales potential against the cost of a right hand-drive conversion.
“It is looking very positive, but there is no final decision,” Denis Le Vot, CEO of Dacia told Autocar late last year. “Our data suggests there are 15 million motorists in Europe who commute in their cars today – and that 60% of them use them for short distance driving exclusively. I am not saying they will all buy a Spring, but I am sure that it is exactly the kind of car that they need.
The Spring went on sale in France in early 2021, priced from €12,403 after that country’s generous EV incentives. That minimum price, equivalent to £10,630, positions the Spring alongside a mid-range, conventionally fuelled Sandero in terms of cost.
The French government currently offers a grant to buyers of sub-€45,000 EVs amounting to 27% of the cost of purchase, including tax, and a further €2500 if the EV is bought in exchange for an older ICE car to be scrapped.
Two trim levels are available: Comfort, which features air conditioning, a 3.5in media display with Bluetooth, a USB port and cloth upholstery as standard, and Comfort Plus, which adds a 7.0in infotainment display with smartphone mirroring, an orange-themed interior styling pack and metallic exterior paint.
The Chinese-made Spring is offered across mainland Europe initially, with car-sharing company Zity a primary customer.
Previewed by a concept in 2019 and based on parent company Renault’s Chinese-market City K-ZE, the Spring was designed for use in urban areas in both passenger and cargo forms – the latter for last-mile deliveries. It uses an electric motor that makes 44bhp and 92lb ft, fed by a 26.8kWh battery.
This gives it a 140-mile range on the WLTP combined cycle and the ability to fast-charge at a rate of up to 30kW from a CCS DC charger. The top speed is limited to 62mph and the turning circle is a mere 4.8 metres.
The Spring is 3.73 metres long – 0.35 metres shorter than the Dacia Sandero – yet the firm claims it has room for four adults. The boot is 300 litres, increasing to 600 litres when the rear seats are folded down, plus there’s 23 litres of storage in the front.
The car-sharing version of the Spring will be offered in select European countries and will come with durable artificial leather seats and 14in wheels. Meanwhile, the van will forgo rear seats to offer 800 litres of luggage capacity and a 1033mm load length.