Electric cars are a fairly expensive little market niche. When compared to similarly sized and optioned cars, the EV doesn’t come across as very good value for money, and this is seen as one of the big hurtles to be cleared before mass implementation can be realistic. But now a Polish firm has put out a pure EV city car which is offered at price that is very competitive with the internal combustion competition. Called the Romet 4E, the car is being sold for just €8,500 (about $10,800) according to a report from AutoEvolution.
Much of this low price comes from the fact that the technology isn’t exactly cutting edge. The battery pack is not lithium-ion, but rather a lead-acid system. But this means that the entire pack costs just €1,950 ($2,500). It is guaranteed for 400 charging cycles, which is said to be about 3 to 5 years of normal use. Now, that’s less than half of what Nissan says you can get out of the battery pack in the Leaf, but even after buying any extra battery packs you might need for your 4E, the price is still well below that of the Leaf. Another advantage of the 16.5 kWh system is that it can be fully charged in 8 hours from any standard socket, and no special charging station is needed. Range is a bit of an issue, but this being a city car, nobody was really expecting it to be stellar. It is said to be between 54 and 110 miles, but those higher numbers are really only possible with very careful driving.
The other big area where the carmaker seems to have kept costs down is in that of the design, which certainly seems to have been lifted from the Citroen C1. The big “open mouth” grille in particular has quite a strong resemblance to the French car. The materials used don’t seem to have cost much either, and as you’ll be able to see in the video, build quality must not have been a very high priority either. But you wouldn’t expect much from a car this cheap even if it had an internal combustion engine, and the fact that an EV can be sold at this price at all is fairly amazing. We’re not expecting this one to make it stateside, as it couldn’t possibly meet crash safety standards, but it should be interesting to see if the low-cost EV will catch on in emerging markets.