Dartz is famous for its big, hulking SUVs, although some may only know the company for offering the world's most expensive vodka. In the future, the Dartz name could come to be synonymous with electric cars.
The company has teamed up with a major Chinese automaker to revive historic Russian brand Freze as a player in the burgeoning EV segment.
The Freze name comes from Pyotr Freze, a Russian engineer and owner of a carriage company who in the late 19th century teamed up with Evgeny Yakovlev, the owner of an engine company, to develop the Yakovlev-Freze, Russia's first car. It was presented for the first time in 1896 but never had much success.
Yakovlev would pass away two years later but Freze would go on to further develop the technology, including swapping the engine for an electric motor. Freze's carriage company would eventually build several more cars, all powered by electricity, but the company was finally taken over by Russo-Baltique in 1910 and the Freze name disbanded.
Russo-Baltique itself went under in 1923 and today, many of its assets are owned by Dartz—including the rights to the Freze name. According to Dartz, its Chinese partner wanted an established brand name to market vehicles outside of China, similarly to how historic German brand Borgward was revived with help from China's Foton.
Details on the collaboration between Dartz and its Chinese partner will be announced in the near future, but we know the first modern Freze will be an electric SUV with a rugged design and production handled in China. Stay tuned.