Fully Charged – Dacia Spring review

The new Dacia Spring is Europe’s cheapest electric car. Here, Fully Charged’s Jack Scarlett, gets his hands on one and puts it to test around the mean streets of Paris.

There are many cities in Europe that are difficult to drive in. Palermo is a barely organised chaos, a cacophony of car horns and hand gestures flung at you from passing Vespas.

Driving in Amsterdam feels like playing a real-life game of Frogger, except you are the car and the frog is a group of stoned tourists with the giggles. But for me, when it comes to Europe’s most stressful driving experience, Paris is in a league all of its own.

It’s not that the locals are bad drivers – on the contrary, they’re actually really good. That’s what makes it so stressful. They have a confidence in their driving abilities, born out of a lifetime negotiating the laneless anarchy of Parisian traffic, and it inspires them to go for gaps only millimetres bigger than the width of their own car. At speed. While beeping at you.

The point I’m making here is that driving in Paris is really, really stressful. And doing so while trying to film a car review was a really stupid idea of mine.

Still, at least I had the perfect tool for the job: the new Dacia Spring, AKA Europe’s cheapest electric car. And when I say cheap, I don’t mean ‘cheap by electric car standards’ because sadly, anything sub-30 grand still looks reasonable relative to most EVs on sale today.

No, the Dacia is properly, actually affordable. Thanks to generous government grants, French residents can have one for just €12,500. And that, however you slice it, is a properly cheap car.

Fancy it is not. The wheel is adorned with fake buttons that once served various functions in whichever other Dacia model it’s been yanked off.

The single motor is about as powerful as the one in my electric skateboard and the interior is made from slightly nasty, scratchy plastic. And I absolutely adore it.

Because, amid the endless line of posh, 60-something thousands-of-pounds EVs getting unveiled every week, the Spring is a breath of fresh air. It is EVs made simple, and the exact type of car we desperately need more of if this whole electric thing is going to catch on in a big way.

But it also has a genuine charm to it. Yes it’s utilitarian, but that simplicity has been executed in a way that brings a smile to your face, even while an 80 year-old French man in a knackered old Clio tries to t-bone you on a mini-roundabout. It is just a wonderful little car, and I pray Dacia has the courage to bring it to the UK market – because I think UK buyers would snap it up.

Watch the full video review below:

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