Latvia's Dartz plans to launch an electric convertible under recently revived Russian brand Freze.
The convertible will be based on a production version of the Wuling Hong Guang Mini EV Cabrio concept that was unveiled on Monday at Auto Shanghai 2021. The pint-sized convertible concept is an open-top version of Wuling's Hong Guang Mini EV hatchback on sale in China, and is scheduled to enter production in China next year.
Dartz has already transformed the Hong Guang Mini EV hatch into the Freze Nikrob EV for sale in Europe. The Nikrob EV was unveiled in February with a starting price of 9,999 euros (approximately $12,000), making it one of the most affordable EVs currently in production. It's also one of the smallest, stretching just 115 inches in length.
Dartz said the convertible will go on sale in Europe by mid-2022, under the Freze Froggy name and with a starting price of about 20,000 euros. The funny name is a tribute to the one-off Volkswagen Beetle-based Froggy that Dartz founder Leonard Yankelovich built in 1993.
Specs are yet to be announced but the Hong Guang Mini EV Cabrio concept features a 27-hp rear-mounted electric motor capable of delivering a top speed of 62 mph. The battery is a 13.8-kilowatt-hour unit good for about 100 miles of range.
Dartz's versions of the Hong Guang Mini EV are being built in Lithuania. Its current Nikrob EV has a 17-hp motor and 13.8-kwh battery. The car is also available with the full suite of Dartz customization possibilities including vegan leather trim made from leaves and even armor protection.
2021 Freze Nikrob EV
Dartz is still establishing a dealer network for Freze in Europe so private sales of the Nikrob EV will take some time, the company said. In the meantime, the company is signing deals to deliver the cars to car-sharing companies. The company is also looking at establishing a car-sharing network that spans multiple countries in Europe. The idea is that you could start a road trip in Norway and end up in Italy, swapping the cars along the way instead of charging them, similar to how carriage drivers would swap horses in the past.
For more from the Shanghai auto show, head to our dedicated hub.