As many of your know by now my beloved Audi TT was severely damaged, a week ago, on 28 February 2022. It was for over 22 year my faithful companion. I truly can say is that this did not went as planned.
The TT was actually planned to get a worthy retirement, as a modern classic within the next months. Last autumn, I helped my good friend Michael Sanchez with a project of his and we got talking about electric vehicles (EV). I posited, wrongly, that there were no cheap EVs. He pointed me to the Dacia Spring. He bought one for his daughters.
I’m not going into the details, but the Luxembourg government gives a 8000€ subsidy, given certain conditions, for the acquisition of an EV. You can go and read the details here, if you need to know. I contacted the closest Dacia dealership to get a test ride, and well, seems they weren’t that eager to sell me anything because only I heard back months later, after I already made a decision. Granted, this could of course be just that they’re flooded with demands.
However, this set off a quite thorough investigation in cheap EVs. The conclusion: There definitely aren’t many. Most EVs start around 32k€, and even with a 8k€ subsidy, that’s still a lot of money for what essentially are compact cars. Cheap EVs are basically: the aforementioned Dacia Spring, the VW triplets (VW, e-Up, Seat Mii Electric and Škoda CITIGOe), the Renault Twingo ZE, and the Smart Electric. Anything else was beyond 32k€. Last autumn, the VW triplets could not be ordered any more. I heard you now can get the e-Up again.
What all cheap EVs have in common: low-range and are “destined” for city use. The range is the selling point of “going bigger”, because frankly, most EVs aren’t going to win beauty prizes, unless you go beyond 60k€. I do simply not understand why car manufacturers can’t make an EV that looks like a standard sedan or break. You only need to look at Tesla: their most coveted model is the Model S which stands for “Sedan”.
When you’re looking to complement your future modern classic, you start off with analysing your actual usage. Well, I would hope that people considering EVs do this. Regardless, basically I do:
- Go to work, which is about 10km, one way. I come home for lunch.
- Bring Little One to kindergarten, which is 3km, one way.
- In the future I’ll bring Little Two to “précoce” (non-mandatory preschool), which is about 10km in the opposite direction of my workplace.
- Go grocery shopping, mostly in shops not further than 15km from work or home.
I would say that the absolute worst case, would be about 120km of driving in a day. In other words, my driving profile matched exactly what a small EV could offer. As such, the idea was born to keep the TT as a weekend car, for the occasional longer non-family road trip, and the EV for everything else. A co worker jokingly quipped that is indeed one way to “go hybrid”.
I obviously need to be able to accommodate the kids, which was increasingly difficult in the TT. While the back seats are technically equivalent to children seats, the leg room is limited for my relatively tall offspring. Little One already started complaining about the restrained space. The conclusion of it all, is that I need a four door, four seat car: This excluded the Smart.
Given the VW triplets couldn’t be ordered, this left the Dacia Spring and the Renault Twingo ZE. Now Renault and Dacia are the same company, so I contacted a dealership in Capellen and asked for a test drive. That dealership immediately called back and organized something. It was a nice drive, I could easily see kid seats in the back and in contrast to the Dacia Spring, you could adjust the steering wheel in height. Sometimes, I just enjoy creature comforts.
So, I ordered a Renault Twingo ZE end November. Originally I was told that delivery should be end March, begin April. You can check the order status online and it has been on “ordered”, well, since November. I have no car right now and have to freeload on my wife’s car, so I asked them last week for a more precise date. Alas, it will be mid-april, end-april according to their salesman.
I would probably not have chosen this to replace the TT: It’s a bit small, has low range, and I chose it to be yellow (my better half’s car is red, the TT is blue. I have a strange sense of humour) but fine, I signed a contract, it will have to do.