The recent weak safety test results of the all-new Dacia Spring (1-star) and Renault ZOE (0-stars) have prompted Euro NCAP to criticize Dacia and Renault.

The organization complains specifically that Dacia has introduced the new EV model with an affordable price tag (it's the least expensive electric car in Europe) but at the expense of occupant safety.

Michiel van Ratingen, Secretary General of Euro NCAP, said that it's cynical:

“Only a few months ago, Dacia claimed that they were ‘preoccupied with always increasing safety for those on board’ and that their cars always have passenger safety improved (see Autocar).  That’s clearly not the case: not only do these cars fail to offer any appreciable active safety as standard, but their occupant protection is also worse than any vehicle we have seen in many years.

It is cynical to offer the consumer an affordable green car if it comes at the price of higher injury risk in the event of an accident.  Other cars, such as the FIAT 500e, recently awarded 5 stars in Green NCAP, show that safety does not need to be sacrificed for environmental cleanliness.”

And here is a question. Should we have entry-level electric cars on the market that are affordable, but without many of safety features? China has its Wuling Hong Guang MINI EV, which sells at a rate of around 40,000 a month, but it also does not appear to be particularly safe.

The Dacia Spring "is heavily based on the Chinese-made Renault City K-ZE, itself a derivative of the troublesome Renault Kwid" which also noted low safety scores. The production in China and no safety features are clear signs that the manufacturer does a lot to lower the price.

If the additional safety features would increase the price, some of the customers would not be able to afford it and will have to use alternative solutions... including scooters or bikes, maybe older ICE cars. Those are not 4- or 5-star products either.

The more expensive EVs with higher safety ratings are not competition, because otherwise they would be already selected over Dacia.

This is why it's difficult to simply blame a manufacturer. The only way to fundamentally improve safety is to increase the purchasing power of customers, who would then be able to buy a better-equipped vehicle.

The important thing is to provide accurate info about the product, its safety rating, and let the customers decide whether in their application - usually local - the risks are acceptable.

2021 Dacia Spring Euro NCAP test results:

  • Adult Occupant - 49 percent
  • Child Occupant - 56 percent
  • Vulnerable Road Users - 39 percent
  • Safety Assist - 32 percent

See all details here.

Crash tests include:

  • Frontal impact test - 50% of the width of the car is striking an oncoming deformable barrier (both traveling at 50 km/h/31 mph)
  • Frontal impact test - the car impacts a rigid full-width barrier at 50 km/h (31 mph)
  • Side impact test - a mobile deformable barrier impacts the driver's door at 60 km/h (37.3 mph)
  • Pole test - the tested car is propelled sideways into a rigid pole at 32 km/h (20 mph)
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