Ultra-affordable Chinese electric cars are coming to Europe, but watch out for the price

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Here is the new DR 1.0 EV, an electric city car already sold in China under the name Chery eQ1. Already marketed in Italy, it could reach France to outshine the Dacia Spring. But like the Leapmotor T03 or the Nikrob EV, its price is no longer its main argument…

While specialists increasingly fear an invasion of Chinese manufacturers in Europe, it is time for a brand new city car to start being marketed here. This is the DR 1.0 EV, which is probably not entirely unfamiliar to you if you are an avid reader of the automotive section of Frandroid. Indeed, this novelty is none other than the version for Europe of the Chery eQ1, which has just been redesigned in China.

A slightly different version

A newcomer to the territory therefore, which will therefore compete head-on with the Dacia Spring, its main competitor in Europe. Because in the Middle Kingdom, the eQ1 has even more to do, especially in the face of the new Geometry Panda Mini and the Baic Jiabao, among others. But then, what is the difference between the Chery and this city car signed by DR Automobiles? Well, to tell you the truth, not much aesthetically.

Because the Italian manufacturer is simply content with distribute the models of its Chinese partner in his country A bit like Dartz, who imported the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV under the Freze brand and therefore renamed it the Nikrob EV. The eQ1 and 1.0 EV display almost identical styling, apart from the grille which looks slightly different. as the site says Italy24, the city then presents a contained length of 3.20 meters.

Dimensions are identical to its Chinese cousin, with 1.67 meters wide and 1.55 meters high. The wheelbase is listed at 2.15 meters, which can accommodate up to four people on board, but probably not over too long a distance either. Meanwhile, the volume of the trunk can increase from 110 to 630 liters when the rear seat is folded down.

The car features a 9.7-inch touchscreen compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, combined with a 3.5 inch digital earphone. As indicated on the website of the argusThe endowment is quite complete, since it includes in particular the manual air conditioning, the induction charger for smartphones or the electric parking brake.

a higher price

Unlike the Chery eQ1 which comes in various versions with 28.8, 29.2 and 40.6 kWh batteries, the DR 1.0 EV is content with a single engine. Therefore, customers will have no choice but to opt for the 45 kW motor, which is equivalent to 61 horsepower for 150 Nm of torque. By way of comparison, the most powerful version of the Dacia Spring, called the Extreme, now tops out at 65 horsepower, against 44 before.

The Chinese city car also offers a single battery, with a capacity of 31 kWh, offering up to 210 kilometers of autonomy according to the WLTP cycle. For its part, the Dock oscillates between 220 and 230 kilometers, with its 27.4 kWh accumulator. This new DR 1.0 EV can achieve a maximum speed of 120 km/h and accelerates from 0 to 50 km/h in five seconds. The 0 to 100 km/h takes 17 seconds.

This newcomer to the European market is compatible with direct current charging, with a maximum power of 40 kW, compared to the 30 kW of the Dacia Spring. It then takes 35 minutes to go from 20 to 80%, compared to 40 minutes to go from 15 to 80% for its Romanian rival. For charging in alternating current, the city car comes standard with a 6.6 kW charger as specified on the brand’s website.

If the new DR 1.0 EV therefore competes on paper with the Spring, which is reaping great success in France to the point of becoming the best-selling electric car in 2022, it has a higher price. In fact, we have to count at least 25,900 euros in Italy, compared to the 20,800 euros of the Spring. To compare with the starting price of the Chinese version: less than 10,000 euros. The reason is, in particular, to look for import costs.

Also a competitor to the Leapmotor T03, this newcomer to the Old Continent should worry some competitors, including Renault or Smart, since it also hunts Twingo E-Tech and the #1 SUV.

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