In an interview with the British car magazine Autocar, Dacia Vice-President for Sales, Marketing, and Operations Xavier Martinet says that a much greater emphasis needs to be put on weight efficiency when designing (EV) cars. “If we’re serious about collectively reducing emissions, then excessive weight should not be acceptable.”
Martinet made his statement when he highlighted Dacia’s focus on reducing the weight of its cars, particularly by only selling them with so-called ‘essential’ equipment. “It’s a philosophy that we have shown with our electric Spring, which weighs 975 kg, and we intend to stand behind it in the future. The Spring is a car that is driven an average of 40 kilometers a day at an average speed of 30 kph. There’s no need for a big, heavy battery or a powerful motor.”
About the larger EVs, mainly SUVs, being launched by some manufacturers at the moment, Martinet is particularly clear: “It doesn’t make sense. It’s insane to allow people to build two- or three-ton vehicles that are occupied by one person and drive just 60 kilometers a day.”
In the market, new electric cars are appearing that are already approaching the 3-ton mark, mostly big SUVs but also luxury cars like the BMW i7, Mercedes EQS, or Rolls-Royce Spectre. Martinet assures that Dacia will not follow that path. His answer to whether his brand is thinking of offering a four-wheeler like the Citroën Ami for essential electric transport is negative.
“There’s not one answer to mobility solutions in this fragmented world, with more change coming in the next 20 years than the last 100. Everyone must come with their strengths; if we try to copy each other, we’ll end up as bad copies. Brands need to define their values and what they stand for. I think Dacia’s strength today is that its position is super-clear,” is his conclusion.
A new debate is coming up
With its statement, Martinet is stirring up the same debate Citroën CEO Vincent Cobée was speaking off recently when he said cars should be smaller, cheaper, and more enjoyable. The combination of the still-increasing popularity of SUVs (especially in higher market segments) and electrification has pushed manufacturers to put mammoths on the streets.
By now, this has resulted in such an overkill of weight and use of resources that there has to be a reaction. Therefore, authorities are reconsidering their incentives/policies on electrified cars, including a weight and a price limit for obtaining subsidies.
Fearing that it would be even more challenging to convince people to make the energy transition, manufacturers have tried to offer the same cars as before, but now with an electric drive. That was a severe miscalculation regarding sustainability. Instead of installing performant charging infrastructure, they chose to carry around heavy batteries to guarantee a range that could be competitive with ICE cars. While most car drivers rarely exceed 100 kilometers a day.
Range anxiety should have been battled with other means than just creating electric heavyweights to counter that very seldom need for covering long distances in a short period. It could have started a new vision regarding mobility as a whole. Until now, they ultimately failed. The debate is beginning now.
We see that an increasing number of individual buyers are hesitating about embracing the energy transition. There are several reasons for this, but finance is essential. Many manufacturers are fleeing the lower segments as fast as they can and want to become ‘premium’ and make (much) more money per car, neglecting the need for basic (individual) transport. It will get very crowdy up there; some will flourish, and others will perish. At the same time, they set the table for brands like Dacia or similar.