Chinese start-up Leapmotor is launching a new, very affordable electric car in France. The Leapmotor T03 is about to land with us and is noticeably overshadowed by the Dacia Spring and the Volkswagen e-UP.
Article updated on January 17 at 11:20 am : importer EVE confirmed to us that the Leapmotor T03 sold in France does not benefit from level 2 autonomous driving, unlike the model sold in China.
If you have never heard of Leapmotor, you can see many of the brand’s cars on our roads. Founded in 2015, the Chinese start-up launched an adorable electric city car in 2020, called the T03. Until then only known in its own country, it made its first appearance in France in October, on the occasion of the Paris Motor Show. What should inform this new Dacia Spring rival, which will soon arrive at the concessions of France.
An affordable price
As announced in a press release published by Leapmotor, the electric city car will actually begin its marketing in the territory. from February. And France will be the first European country to be served, which is rarely enough to underline. In fact, most Chinese brands have chosen Norway instead, such as BYD, Nio or Xpeng, among others. But the T03 will not be distributed directly by the brand, but by the EVE network (Electric Vehicle Space). The latter sells cars of the Seres and DFSK brands here.
In 2023, approximately fifty dealerships will offer this newcomer at the beginning of the year, a number that will increase to around one hundred by December. The city car will remain alone in the French range for a while, while Leapmotor also produces an electric sedan called the C1, whose marketing is not planned in Europe at the moment.
Then it will be necessary to count 25,990 euros to offer you a copy of this T03, a price that does not take into account the ecological bonus of 5,000 euros. So, the city car is accessible from 20,990 euros, or even 18,990 euros if you qualify for bonus of 7,000 euros reserved for the most moderate. As a comparison, the Dacia Spring, whose prices increased slightly last year, starts at 20,800 euros (15,800 euros with a bonus of 5,000 euros).
But if the Leapmotor T03 is a bit more expensive than its Romanian rival, it also offers a more complete service and higher performance. Starting with its power, shown in 109 horses, against only 44 for Spring. If a new Extreme strong version of 65 equines has just been unveiled, it is still relatively small compared to the Chinese city car.
Enough to offer 0 to 100 km / h in 12 seconds on the Leapmotor T03. Braking from 100 to 0 km/h requires 43.5 meters, which is pretty bad. Top speed is 130 km/h and torque is 158 Nm.
The electric car is also equipped with a 41.3 kWh Lithium-ion (LFP) battery, which allows it to travel approximately 280 kilometers on a single charge according to the WLTP cycle. A figure in sharp decline compared to the 403 kilometers of the more optimistic Chinese CLTC cycle, but still higher than Spring’s 230 kilometers. Consumption seems high, with about 15 kWh / 100 km theoretical against 10 kWh / 100 km for the French.
The Leapmotor has a 6.6 kWh AC charger and can collect up to 45 kW in direct current. So, and as specified by the brand’s website, only 36 minutes are required to go from 30 to 80%. Granted, we’re a long way from the Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5’s 18 minutes, but that’s still acceptable for an affordable car like this.
3.62 meters long, 1.65 meters wide and 1.58 meters high, the city car has a trunk of 210 liters. It is less than the Spring, which has a volume of 290 liters. As in Spring, there are only four places.
But where the Chinese city car stands out is its standard endowment. From the entry level, it is equipped witha 10.1-inch touchscreen paired with an 8-inch digital handset. A voice recognition system is also offered, while the driver can also take advantage of the reversing camera as well as automatically turning on the lights. Three driving modes are available, as well as three steering assistance settings.
Note that we do not know if the Leapmotor T03 sold in France is equipped with Leapmotor Pilot system like in China. It takes the form of a semi-autonomous driving system, which is logically limited to level 2. If level 3 has been authorized in France since last year, only the Mercedes EQS and S-Class have been temporarily endowed. In any case, the car is equipped with cruise control.
The Leapmotor T03 will be guaranteed for 3 years or 100,000 km and will start marketing in February 2023 at Seres dealerships across France.
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