Chinese electric car to debut in Poland

A new Chinese electric car has made its Polish debut during this week’s Impact mobility rEVolution ’18 conference, promising an affordable price and technological simplicity in a bid to convince budget-conscious Poles to go electric.

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The car, known as ZD D2S, is manufactured in China by a company known as Zhi Dou Electric Vehicle; although hardly a household name, the firm can boast of having a kinship, of sorts, with Sweden’s iconic car brand Volvo, with both manufacturers currently under the ownership of the Zhejiang Geely Holding Group.

The Chinese urban runabout, expected to go on sale in six of Poland’s largest cities, courtesy of a local distributor known as Electric Vehicles Poland. They will place strong emphasis on affordability and simple tech, with its price expected to hover around PLN 40,000 (ca. EUR 9200) plus VAT, with the distributor claiming that the vehicle will be the cheapest EV on Poland’s market. Sales of the car – the global sales of which have already exceeded 42,000 units in 2017, making it the sixth most-popular EV in the world – are expected to begin in November this year.

Of course, one must bear in mind that this is no Tesla – the tiny two-seater evidently focuses on a no-frills approach to public transport, with a sub-3 metre length and weighing in at just about 700 kg. The car’s 30 kW motor allows it to reach 50 km/h in about 5 seconds, which is hardly likely to inspire any motorsport thrills, but is more than enough to facilitate driving across Poland’s increasingly congested cities. Although reportedly styled in Italy, the car’s appearance is likewise a far cry from the evocative, rakish designs of premium EVs – something which ZD D2S drivers are unlikely to find relevant, however, especially as they slot their cars neatly into tight parking spaces that the average Jaguar E-Pace owner could only dream of.

According to the chairman of the Chinese EV’s Polish importer, the electric supermini should be good for a 150 km range before having to be recharged, with the charging cycle expected to last about 7-8 hours. The car’s lithium polymer battery is expected to last for about 2,000 cycles before requiring a replacement, and the vehicle itself boasts an admirable simplicity insofar as its inner workings are concerned, with only about 500 parts versus the 25,000 components that a typical petroleum-powered car usually boasts.

Photo: PAP/Andrzej Grygiel

Slow charging?

The arrival of the new Chinese contender for the budget EV crown could potentially shake up Poland’s market for electric cars, but other factors would need to change as well before the vehicle could attain real popularity. With charging stations still being sparse in large urban areas and virtually non-existent elsewhere, Poland is still a long way from fully embracing the concept of electromobility.

One of Poland’s websites dedicated to electric cars reported earlier this year that while Europe’s total EV sales in 2017 shot up by almost half compared to 2016, Poland’s figure of slightly over 1,000 EV registrations (including both pure EVs and plug-in hybrids) is hardly impressive compared to the likes of Norway (over 33,700 registered EVs) or France (about 30,000). And while Poland’s Prime Minister announced back in 2016 that he wanted a million EVs on Poland’s roads by 2026, it is likely to take a few more incentives before a wholesale mentality shift galvanizes the popularity of electric cars among Polish drivers.