A piece of news from an American newspaper, Des Moines Register, has attracted big interest online. The owner of a company that used to sell Chrysler found a solution to get him out of the crisis brought by the economic environment: he'll bring from Romania electric cars put together in this country - cars based on Dacia models. The news needs to be read with caution: the article talks about high selling prices, of up to 30,000 dollars, an unusual high autonomy - 400 km, and it does not mention who's the producer and where they are produced.
Des Moines Register publishes an interview with Gene Gabus, a dealer's manager who was selling Chrysler until recently, but as the situation got worse, quick solutions were needed and he found them, apparently, in Romania. Gabus says that he received the first electric car from Romania on Friday, February 5 2010, a car that was created according to Dacia Logan Pick-up model. The car is said to sell in America under the EMC brand.
Gabus says that he'll bring a break model and a van model, all cars have Logan chassis, are produced in Romania and the bodies are Renault-made. The American claims that around 100 electric cars will arrive to the US from Romania and that he will try to sell them in 28 American states.
Nevertheless, a series of details need to be treated with caution. The prices for US are rather high, namely 33,000 dollars for a van, 34,000 for the pick-up and 38,000 dollars for the break model. The prices are far from being low-cost, even if it is common knowledge that electric cars are more expensive than the ones running on fuel engine.
In the US, new pick-up models can be bought for 20,000 dollars, which makes the selling of the cars allegedly from Romania more difficult. There are quite a few producers working on electric cars, but have not launched them yet because they are expensive. The Japanese from Mitsubishi launched a limited series in the mini class, 100% electric, which initially cost 30,000 euros. Additionally, the manager claims the cars from Romania have an autonomy of 400 km, a very high value for this type of cars. The Mitsubishi model has 130 km of autonomy, and the Renault models to be launched in a year's time got 160 km.
Plus, the battery package used by Opel Ampera, a model to be launched in 2011, weights 160 kg and the car can only go for 60 km if it uses only that. Mitsubishi's i-MIEV model has a battery package weighing 85 kg. The idea is that it is very difficult to reach a 400 km autonomy in the current conditions, the battery package would be way too heavy and expensive, and so the figures must be regarded with prudence.
Additionally, it is claimed that the car can be recharged in only tow to three hours at 220 V and in eight hours at 110 V. This time seems extremely short for a car with such a high autonomy.
The news has many unanswered questions. The Romanian location of production is still unknown, if it is commercially possible to sell the car in the US, instead of having them assembled there since the car has an American-made engine.
We will return with details when the involved parties will answer the questions we have sent to them. But we would be wrong to believe that this is Dacia's break-through on the US market.