A while ago, you probably heard the news that Dartz would have an electric car based on the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV that would be called Dartz FreZe Nikrob EV. Forget about the Dartz bit of the name: the affordable EV is called just FreZe Nikrob EV. FreZe is a new brand under the Dartz group, as Leonard Yankelovich told InsideEVs. His car is now Europe’s most affordable electric car, starting at €9,999 in Latvia.
Yankelovich named himself RFE at Dartz, which means he is responsible for everything, including the car price. Curiously, being affordable is just part of what makes the FreZe Nikrob EV interesting.
Just like Dartz, FreZe was also an old car company that made electric vehicles in the early 1900s. Pyotr Aleksandrovich Frese, its founder, built what was is said to be the first Russian car in 1896, in collaboration with Yevgeny Alexandrowitsch Jakowlew. It was called the Jakowlew & Frese. Cars that had only the Frese name emerged in 1902. In 1910, Frese & Co was bought by RBVZ – the company Dartz descends from.
While Dartz will keep dedicated to “opulent, unique vehicles,” as Yankelovich refers to them, FreZe vehicles will be affordable and focused on daily driving. According to the entrepreneur, they are all under the Dartz group, like Bentley and Skoda are controlled by Volkswagen.
The Mini EV derivative is also called Nikrob due to another company involved with the process. Nikrob UAB has been created to handle the homologation process and the assembly of the affordable EV. According to Yankelovich, the company may look small but is backed by bigger partners that will help him achieve the ambitious goals for the new car.
The FreZe Nikrob EV is the car that made Dartz’s “Skoda” possible. It is based on the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV but received changes that made it safer and more energy-efficient. According to Yankelovich, it has ESP, airbags, new wheels, and LED lighting. FreZe also added an alternator to run AC equipment in the car, such as the audio, which gave it a 30 km longer range than the Chinese car offers.
The Wuling Hongguang Mini EV has two battery pack options: 9.2 kWh and 13.8 kWh, both with LFP cells. That's not the case for the FreZe Nikrob EV, as you may have read elsewhere: it will only have the larger battery pack in Europe. According to Yankelovich, it offers a 200 km NEDC range.
Yankelovich also plans to sell a luxury version of the FreZe. It will present a vegan material similar to leather but made of leaves, a premium sound system, and allow the owners to pick any color they want. This version will be called Dartz, and it will cost €14,999 in Latvia. In other European countries, due to incentives, prices may change – hopefully, to lower values.
There’s even a more extreme version in the plans. Called Aladeen, it will probably have 99 units that will be wrapped in gold. It will also have badges from the Republic of Wadiya. If you still have not connected the dots, it will be a reference to the movie “The Dictator,” in which Dartz Prombon vehicles were stars beside Ben Kingsley and Sacha Baron Cohen. Yankelovich is still negotiating to have Cohen sign the cars.
Regarding the people who can afford the more affordable FreZe Nikrob EV, its main customers will probably be rent and car-sharing companies. Even FreZe plans to offer the service. Yankelovich’s dream with it is to allow someone to grab a car in Norway and change it for charged ones until they can reach Italy, France, or other European destinations. Instead of swapping batteries, you just swap cars and get where you want.
Yankelovich is pretty confident his new company will sell even more cars than it currently plans, even in the UK. The entrepreneur says no borders will hold it back, not even if they drive on a different side of the car. That’s the first chance for Europeans to understand what Chinese buyers find so cool about the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV with an even better product than they can buy in its home country.