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Craziest electric car yet: The £17k Dartz Freze Froggy Beachstar

If you think electric cars are boring, this one should certainly change your mind.

It’s the latest model from Latvia’s Dartz Motorz, which is best-known for building tanks and hulking armoured vehicles for celebrities but has more recently launched a dedicated EV department under the ‘Freze’ name.

The latest machine added to its line-up is the Froggy Beachstar, a roofless two-seat roadster that has a claimed range of 186 miles, a top speed of 65mph and a starting price of £17,000. And they are going to build right-hand-drive versions.

Dartz has identified tycoons as its target customers and says the diminutive EV is deigned to sit among the most desirable supercars driven around Monaco. 

Craziest electric car yet: This is the new Dartz Freze Froggy Beachstar – a topless EV offering a range of 186 miles and top speed of 65mph. With a starting price of £17,000, it is targeted at tycoons who holiday in Monaco

It is the open-top version of the brand’s Freze Nikrob, which is already sold on the continent from €13,000 (£11,000) and is described by the alternative car maker as the ‘the cheapest EV in Europe’. A long-range version is also available for €15,000 (around £12,725).

The Froggy Beachstar is a rebodied version of the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV Cabrio – the convertible version of China’s best-selling electric car that has become immensely popular thanks to its extremely affordable starting price of less than £4,000 in its home market. 

The oddball Froggy Beachstar name is based on two former models created by Dartz Motorz: the Volkswagen Froggy Beetle (left) and the Mercedes SLK Beachstar buggy (middle)

The oddball Froggy Beachstar name is based on two former models created by Dartz Motorz: the Volkswagen Froggy Beetle (left) and the Mercedes SLK Beachstar buggy (middle)

he Latvian maker says the wacky nameplate points to 'a roadster car body made more fun'. In this tribute colour combo, it certainly stands out

he Latvian maker says the wacky nameplate points to ‘a roadster car body made more fun’. In this tribute colour combo, it certainly stands out

As well as removing - or as Dartz says, 'annihilating' - the roof, the car maker 'threw out' the two back seats, because 'roadsters are not school buses' and so that additional space could be made available to install the largest battery feasible

As well as removing – or as Dartz says, ‘annihilating’ – the roof, the car maker ‘threw out’ the two back seats, because ‘roadsters are not school buses’ and so that additional space could be made available to install the largest battery feasible

The name combines those of Dartz’s ‘most iconic’ cars from the last three decades: the frog-inspired VW Beetle called the Froggy and the Beachstar buggy – a Mercedes SLK sports car turned monster truck. The Latvian maker says the nameplate points to ‘a roadster car body made more fun’.

Prices will start from €19,999 (£17,000), which is a significant mark-up on the four-seat Nikrob city car, though it’s not aimed at the same clientele.

‘The idea is to make the cheapest EV in the EU market visually affordable for tycoons,’ the brand says.

It adds that the design will ‘fit right among much more expensive cars, parked in Casino Square in Monaco’.

Designer, Aleksander Isaev, said creating the world's first small EV roadster was 'challenging'

He described the process of turning the Freze Nikrob into an open-top model as trying to 'convert a big lunchbox on wheels into an opulent roadster'

Designer, Aleksander Isaev, said creating the world’s first small roofless EV was ‘challenging’, describing the process as ‘converting a big lunchbox on wheels into an opulent roadster’.

The company confirmed to This is Money that the battery powering the Froggy Beachstar is 26.5kW and linked to a 40bhp electric motor

The company confirmed to This is Money that the battery powering the Froggy Beachstar is 26.5kW and linked to a 40bhp electric motor

This provides a claimed range of up to 186 miles (300km) and a top speed of 53mph in 'economy' mode. There is also a 'sport' button - 'yes, as this is a roadster', the brand's spokesperson says - which increases the top speed to 65mph

This provides a claimed range of up to 186 miles (300km) and a top speed of 53mph in ‘economy’ mode. There is also a ‘sport’ button – ‘yes, as this is a roadster’, the brand’s spokesperson says – which increases the top speed to 65mph

Designer, Aleksander Isaev, said creating the world’s first small roofless EV was ‘challenging’, describing the process as ‘converting a big lunchbox on wheels into an opulent roadster’.

As well chopping off the top – which Dartz Motorz calls ‘roof annihilation’ – the brand also ‘threw out’ the two back seats, because ‘roadsters are not school buses’ and so that additional space could be made available to install the largest battery feasible.

Dartz Freze Froggy Beachstar specs 

Price: from €19,999 (£17,000)

Style: Roofless roadster 

Seats:Doors: 2

Battery: 26.5kW

Drive: Single electric motor

Maximum power: 40bhp

Charging time: 5 hours+

Range: 186 miles (300km) 

Top speed: 65mph in sport mode (53mph in economy mode)

The company confirmed to This is Money that the battery powering the Froggy Beachstar is 26.5kW and linked to a 40bhp electric motor.

This provides a claimed range of up to 186 miles (300 kilometres) and a top speed of 53mph in ‘economy’ mode. 

There is also a ‘sport’ button – ‘yes, as this is a roadster’, the brand’s spokesperson says – which increases the top speed to 65mph, though will zap the available range more dramatically.

A full battery charge takes a little over five hours, Dartz states.

And this won’t be the only version made available. By next summer it says there will be three options to choose from.

The Froggy Beachstar roadster, seen here, will come first and is primarily aimed at ‘rich people’ who can ‘allow themselves to have cars with no roof’.

The second variant will be an open-top ‘buggy’ called the Free Mojo EV.

Completing the trio will be a model – which is yet to be named – with a targa roof, meaning there will be the option to have a canopy protecting the interior – and driver and passenger – from a sudden and unexpected downpour. 

The spokesperson says the latter ‘will not be so naked, let’s say in a bra’ and ‘cost as much as an expensive roadster’.

A full battery charge takes a little over five hours, Dartz states. Right-hand-drive versions will be created, the brand told us

A full battery charge takes a little over five hours, Dartz states. Right-hand-drive versions will be created, the brand told us

If it did make it onto the UK market, the £17,000 Freze Froggy Beachstar would easily become the cheapest electric car in Britain to offer open-top driving, undercutting the next most-affordable convertible EV by almost £8,000

If it did make it onto the UK market, the £17,000 Freze Froggy Beachstar would easily become the cheapest electric car in Britain to offer open-top driving, undercutting the next most-affordable convertible EV by almost £8,000

Two other models will follow by next summer. An open-top 'buggy' called the Free Mojo EV and a variant with a targa roof. The spokesperson for the brand says the latter 'will not be so naked, let's say in a bra' and 'cost as much as an expensive roadster'

Two other models will follow by next summer. An open-top ‘buggy’ called the Free Mojo EV and a variant with a targa roof. The spokesperson for the brand says the latter ‘will not be so naked, let’s say in a bra’ and ‘cost as much as an expensive roadster’

The brand adds that there will be right-hand-drive versions available, though there is no clarification if the Latvian company intends to launch its wacky EV to the UK market.

If it did, the £17,000 Freze Froggy Beachstar would easily become the cheapest open-top electric car in Britain, undercutting the next most-affordable plug-in convertible by almost £8,000. 

Currently, there are only two cabriolet EVs on sale here – the Smart EQ ForTwo (£24,645) and Fiat 500C, which costs from £32,085.

At £17,000, the Froggy Beachstar would be almost £10,000 pricier than the two-seat Citroen Ami – the UK’s most affordable electric passenger vehicle at £7,695 (though it’s technically a quadricycle and not a car) – but offers a significantly longer range than the French model’s 46 miles. 

While electric vehicles is part of a new venture for the brand, it is arguably best known for producing armoured trucks. In 2013, Kanye West reportedly paid $2.4million for two Dartz Prombron Iron Diamond SUVs – one for him and a second for then-partner, Kim Kardashian.

At the time they were bought by Mr West, Dartz said the motor could prevent kidnapping, hijacking and ‘other problems which can meet rich and lonely lady on the street’. 

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