Against this background, we were presented with the Russian-assembled Evolute electric car. We took a closer look at it.
Alexander Dybin, St. Petersburg
Evolute is a new Russian brand, which is positioned as a replacement for auto giants that are rapidly leaving the country. And not just a replacement, but also an electric one - the latest squeak of automotive trends. True, the Russian brand is only on the passport, says Evolute with a strong Chinese accent. The first i-Pro sedan model is assembled in Lipetsk from components supplied from China. In fact, they just hang their nameplates on the Dongfeng Aeolus E70.
We went to the dealership to look at the curiosity, and also to find out how a Russian buyer is being persuaded to switch to an electric car.
“To make it clear to you, this car is based on the well-known Nissan Almera (not produced since 2018 - ed. note), - says an employee of the dealership, filling out documents for a test drive, - all the hodovka was taken from there, there is unification for spare parts . Yes, while the car is completely made of Chinese components, but there are plans to increase localization. And after the battery production plant in Kaliningrad is put into operation, the car will almost completely be Russian.”
On the one hand, the Almerovskaya filling is good news, servicing such a car is not as expensive and difficult as it might seem. On the other hand, this immediately puts i-Pro on a par with strong competitors: Volkswagen Polo, Kia Rio, Hyundai Solaris and even Lada Vesta. And when choosing between proven models, among which there are options up to two million, and an electric novelty, which costs from two million, there is something to think about. And this is considering the fact that the Nissan Almera has never been a bestseller in Russia. The suspension of the car is condo, the interior is made according to the principle "poor, but clean", the noise isolation is zero, and the body design evokes thoughts of retro style. In other words, to become a star of the roads, which others look at with admiration, or at least with curiosity, our new product clearly does not shine.
A separate surrealism in acquaintance with the Evolute is added by the fact that in St. Petersburg he lodges in the Land Rover salon and inspects the B-class electric "state employee" surrounded by cars made with royal luxury.
“The color is only white so far, but there is no need to suffer with the choice,” says a dealer representative, talking about what the car owner will have to put up with or get used to.
Without leaving the salon, you will have to buy floor mats - the factory will not make such a gift, as well as invest in lockers so that the arches do not rust and the rustling of the wheels is less audible.
“The trunk is large, but the rear sofa does not fold, such a design feature,” the seller continues, “the car immediately comes with parking sensors, but we can put a rear-view camera.”
Tesla surprised the first users with the presence of two trunks: both in front and behind. At Evolute, under the hood, curious people are greeted with a warning: “the fan can start working at any moment, don’t stick your hands out.”
Noteworthy is the presence of a traditional battery. It is needed to start and power electronics. The main battery, which is hidden under the bottom, works for movement and, paired with a traditional one, lasts longer. An electric inverter is also installed here, a little deeper - a gearbox, which is responsible for speeding up.
The interior is nothing special for a B-class car. An electronic scoreboard, next to it is such a flat panel of a multimedia system that runs on an android. They promise that a mobile application for managing music from your phone will soon appear. In the meantime, you have to hit the screen with your fingers.
Evolute starts in a fashionable way - with a button. The gear selector is no different from a conventional machine. But what you have to get used to is that climate control is placed on the steering wheel.
“In order for the interior to warm up, of course, you need to wait, this is a feature of an electric car,” says the seller, “but for the winter, we advise you to install a heater. It runs on diesel, a tank of 6 liters, enough for a week of daily use. And the car warms up, and the battery life is saved. This option costs 60 thousand.
Evolute I-pro can please the driver with two modes. In a normal sedan, it behaves in general the same way as its gasoline classmates. In "sport" mode, the car becomes sharper, acceleration is more aggressive. True, and it eats up the battery faster.
“Sport mode may seem familiar to diesel fans when the car is flying off the ground,” says the salesperson, “and in normal mode there is an interesting effect when the car slows down if you just take your foot off the gas. How is this similar to engine braking on the mechanics. Of course, you need to get used to such a feature, but in traffic jams it saves battery power a lot.”
For Evolute I-pro they ask for almost three million rubles. The price tag for the basic equipment is 2,990,000 rubles. But after a dose of valerian, you can look at the conditions and see that almost a million is subsidized by the state. If you take a car on credit under a preferential program that covers families with children, buyers who have not previously had a car, medical workers or who have handed over their car in trade-in, then the state will compensate 925,000 rubles. The conditions of the program are so wide that almost all potential buyers can get under it. Therefore, in fact, the car costs 2,065,000 rubles, plus the mandatory purchase of floor mats, lockers and a heater. The latter is really needed, since during the test drive the car did not warm up, although it was +10 outside.
“There is a zero road tax for this car, in addition, free parking in the city center, they promise that soon toll roads for electric cars will become free,” says the dealer.
At the same time, OSAGO is calculated based on the power of 163 horsepower.
Saves maintenance as well. At first, there really is nothing to service there, since there is no need to change the oil and filters, there are no belts. And the battery life is 8 years. With a three-year warranty, the battery is already a headache for the owner. But the dealer assures that it is arranged on the basis of a honeycomb and it will not be necessary to change it entirely. It will be possible to replace only the most tired segments.
“The first MOT will cost 7,000 rubles,” says the seller, “this is topping up the coolant and brake fluid, replacing the cabin filter. The most expensive MOT is at a mileage of 45,000 kilometers, when it will be necessary to change the oil in the gearbox.
A separate quest is charging the car. It is stated that a full charge gives a power reserve of 420 kilometers. In urban work-home mode in a metropolis, you need to charge almost every day. This can be done at stations and at home. From the household network, the car is fully charged for several hours. If you live in a private house, there are no problems with organizing the charge. And if in a human cell on the 15th floor? Here everyone should understand their disposition and capabilities.
“I saw how they charged from a lamppost, illegally, probably, but there are opportunities,” the seller said.
So far, the network of charging stations in the Northern capital is not as good as we would like. There are 40 free Rosseti stations and several dozen more paid ones. Full refueling will cost about 500 rubles (even cheaper from a home network). There are fast stations that charge in 30-40 minutes, there are long ones - several hours. You need to study specific locations. For example, in the Vasileostrovsky district of St. Petersburg, where the author of the material lives, only one station was found, and then at a distance of several kilometers from home.
- A state program has been adopted, according to which 9,000 stations will be built in the coming years, most of them in large cities and on main highways, - the dealer says, - the situation with the charge will improve significantly.
- And how, with all this specificity, do they take these cars? - we are interested in the last.
- We ourselves were somewhat surprised, but they take it, - says the representative of the dealer, - sales have been going on for only a month and 70% of the planned indicators have already been sold. People have an interest in the model.