which is the best electric car under 20,000 euros?

While the electric car market has grown a lot recently, this is unfortunately not the case for affordable cars. Fortunately, this should change next year, in particular thanks to Citroën. Let’s see what the ë-C3 has in store for us against the Dacia Spring.

In the world of electric cars, when looking for a cheap vehicle, there are too few choices. Many city cars quickly exceed 30,000 euros, which means that the cheapest electric car is well ahead of most other alternatives. To date, this is the Dacia Spring, which is also very popular thanks to its price placement.

Opposite, Citroën is preparing its response, with the ë-C3 which is planned for 2024, with a very aggressive price: from 23,300 euros. We will come back to the similarities and differences between these two trendy cars, trying at the end of this file to determine which is better between the Dacia Spring and the Citroën ë-C3.

Citroën ë-C3 and Dacia Spring technical sheets

Model Citroën ë-C3 Dacia Spring Electric 65 (2023)

4.01m x 1.76m x 1.57m

3.73m x 1.58m x 1.51m

Power (horsepower)

113 horses

65 horses

0 to 100km/h

11 sec

13.7 sec

Level of autonomy

Assisted driving (level 1)

Assisted driving (level 1)

Maximum speed

135 km/h

125 km/h

Main screen size

10.25 inches

7 inches

Car side socket

Type 2 Combo (CCS)

Type 2 Combo (CCS)

Entry-level price

23,300 euros

20800 euros

Product sheet

Product sheet See the test


The small Dacia Spring is only available with a 26.8 kWh battery. Fortunately, its low consumption allows it to display a WLTP range in the combined cycle of 230 kilometers, more than enough for people living in urban areas.

If you consider that the Dacia Spring offers too little autonomy, the Citroën ë-C3 and its 320 kilometers of autonomy will perhaps satisfy you. The French manufacturer announces a 44 kWh battery, more than 60% more than that of the Spring.

If this first version is planned for 2024, Citroën has already announced that in 2025, a version with a smaller battery and a range of around 200 kilometers would be released, for 19,990 euros. It will therefore be reserved for city dwellers who do not go too far from their homes, and will directly compete with the Spring in terms of autonomy.

Given its much greater autonomy, it is a knockout victory for the Citroën ë-C3.


As standard, fast charging is not included with the Dacia Spring. You have to pay 600 euros more or opt for the more high-end model to be able to recharge it at a maximum power of 30 kW. On a city car, one might imagine that this is useless, however for owners who do not have the means to recharge at home, it may be interesting to fully fill the battery while shopping at a supermarket equipped with charging stations. direct current. Recharging then takes around 1 hour.

In any case, the on-board charger allows you to fill the battery in just over 12 hours on a domestic outlet, or less than 5 hours on a suitable Wallbox.

As for the Citroën ë-C3, fast charging is included and allows you to go from 20 to 80% in less than 30 minutes. The maximum permitted power peaks at 100 kW on fast terminals, which is much more consistent with the current market.

On alternating current, a full recharge takes around 4 hours in the best case, and up to 24 hours on a conventional power outlet. On paper, this is a win for the Citroën ë-C3 given its fast charging capability.


The Dacia Spring is not going to set any acceleration records, to say the least. The basic engine, a 33 kW (45 hp) motor, allows you to reach 100 km/h in 19.1 seconds. The more high-end version has a 48 kW (65 hp) engine, and goes from 0 to 100 km/h in 13.7 seconds.

As for the Citroën ë-C3, performance is a little more respectable, thanks to its 83 kW (113 hp) engine. 0 to 100 km/h is announced in 11 seconds, and the maximum speed is 135 km/h. Here again, it is the Citroën ë-C3 which wins.


The Citroën ë-C3 keeps the DNA of the brand, and it is clearly visible inside. The cocoon atmosphere and the comfortable seats at the front are very present, and if the test of the Citroën ë-C4 can give us a glimpse of the atmosphere on board the ë-C3, it looks good felted as desired. The suspensions with double hydraulic stops should add even more comfort.

Regarding habitability, Citroën highlights the trunk 310 liters which is more than the 290 liters of the Dacia Spring.

Comfort is much less worked on the Dacia Spring, which chooses to go to the essentials. The seats are quite firm, and it can be difficult to sit correctly even for short trips. The level of finish leaves something to be desired, constantly reminding us that we are on board a budget electric vehicle.

You will have understood, in terms of comfort and useful volume, the Citroën ë-C3 wins over the Dacia Spring.

Embedded technologies

Citroën has an unusual bias on its ë-C3: that of not installing a traditional instrument cluster. Instead, we find a head-up display which reflects information not on the windshield, but on a glossy black part of the dashboard.

In the center of the dashboard sits a 10-inch screen, compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, but not on the entry-level, which will rely solely on the smartphone to act as infotainment.

Regarding driving aids, they are similar on the Citroën ë-C3 and the Dacia Spring, and reduced to their strict minimum, which may seem too little for 2023, but in this segment, this is unfortunately often the case. So forget about semi-autonomous driving and other adaptive cruise controls.

As on the ë-C3, the entry-level Spring does not have a screen in the center of the dashboard or a reversing camera, and only the top of the range benefits from a 7-inch screen in the center . We can consider it a draw in terms of on-board technologies.


The Dacia Spring is now offered at a starting price of 20,800 euros, and the Extreme version is available from 22,300 euros. These prices exclude ecological bonus, the rules of which for 2024 will change.

The 44 kWh version of the Citroën ë-C3 will be sold at 23,300 euros, and should be eligible for the ecological bonus from 2024. If this is confirmed, and the price of the Dacia Spring does not change, this should allow Citroën to offer a car cheaper than the Spring. In addition, a version under 20,000 euros is expected for 2025, with a smaller battery.

Which one to choose between the Citroën ë-C3 and the Dacia Spring?

To date, only the Dacia Spring is available. Its price in 2023, taking into account the ecological bonus, makes it a car to consider for small budgets who do not need anything other than a vehicle allowing them to travel a few dozen kilometers per day.

However, in 2024, the rules change and it is likely that the Dacia Spring will no longer be eligible for the ecological bonus of 5,000 euros. Scheduled for the middle of next year, the Citroën ë-C3 could therefore become the perfect electric car for small budgets.

It wins in terms of interior quality, on-board space, performance and autonomy. If on top of all this, it manages to be less expensive than the Dacia Spring, the Citroën ë-C3 is clearly the city car to beat.

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