The Nissan Leaf, priced at $27,400, is out of reach for many.
At $27,400, the Nissan Leaf is currently the cheapest electric vehicle on sale in the US. With a range of up to 226 miles on S Plus models, it's a perfectly comfortable and capable commuter for those requiring an electric vehicle.
But even with potential incentives, it remains a pricier alternative to Nissan's own gas-powered Versa or Sentra. Many American consumers who want to make the switch to electric aren't able to, their finances limiting them from purchasing a new EV.
In Europe, there's a similar issue facing car buyers. Electric vehicles also sit in a higher price range, meaning those who can't afford them remain out of the market. There is, however, an alternative - and it's selling exceptionally well.
Automotive News Europe reports the compact car has seen an uptick in popularity. There were 27,876 examples of the Dacia registered starting in March, with the brand noting a further 46,000 orders have been placed since then. It is currently not offered in all EU markets. Xavier Martinet, sales and marketing chief for the Romanian brand, noted 80% of Spring sales were to private buyers. Earlier on, Dacia elected to focus on rental fleets. Overall, the news is positive for the firm, with sales up 3% in 2021.
Priced as low as €17,000 ($19,400) before incentives - reducing the price to €11,000 ($12,500) in Germany and €8,250 ($9,400) in Romania - it represents strong value for money. Add in the low running costs and cheap maintenance and you can see why the Spring appeals to cash-strapped buyers, a group who previously couldn't afford an electric vehicle.
While our car-buying habits ultimately differ, the European demand for a cheap electric vehicle such as the Spring highlights the need for a similarly priced electric vehicle stateside. Electric vehicles are certainly cheaper to run and own, but there are many Americans who cannot afford the initial outlay required to reap those benefits.
Hopefully, it changes soon, but for now, the electric vehicle remains the reserve of the middle-class American. While the Spring isn't ideally suited to the US, it does underline the need for a small, electric vehicle that can cater to a market that is currently left out. Even as a second car for families that require a cheap, easy-to-run city vehicle, a vehicle similar to the Spring would most likely be a sales success.
Starting out in life as the controversial Renault Kwid, the Spring has transformed into an immensely popular car in Europe. "The Spring is really answering the needs of our customers in this segment," said Martinet.