This budget and smart EV is called the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV. the American-Chinese joint venture SAIC-GM is taking the Chinese market by storm with their mini EV with sales rivaling even the likes of tesla. but what does it mean for companies in China and the rest of the world?
There seems to be quite a distinct barrier around China when it comes to trading. things don’t quite work like they do between the US and let’s say the UK. restrictions are placed on what can be imported as well as exported via its borders. but a Chinese motor company SAIC the name behind the revival of British brand GM has teamed up with multinational giant general motors to come up with a mass-market electric car.
Its size is anything but long at 2.9 meters in length. it’s a whole meter shorter than the proudly British mini hatchback. even the classic mini was between 10 and 20 centimeters longer than this latest Chinese EV. at less than 1.5 meters wide there’s no doubt this car will be perfect for the city. that’s where the creators see most of the revenue being generated. with buyers opting for a smaller and more economical city car, as well as first-time and older buyers who are looking for a cheap set of wheels.
One journal article suggests that Chinese roads vary between 2.85 and 3.75 meters wide. the latter more than double the width of this tiny EV. nevertheless, its boxy design and comparably high stance just over 1.6 meters mean it’s perfectly designed for lugging all the city essentials around.
Pictures show the car is loaded with flowers and groceries with the back seats folded down yes there are two rows in this car a 741-liter cargo space opens up. that’s 10 liters more than the three-door variant of the much larger modern mini cooper. the car weighs an astonishing 665 kilograms. to put that in perspective that’s about 1 100 kilograms less than the model 3, and half the weight of even the petrol-powered modern mini cooper.
Performance and Pricing
The entry-level model comes in at 28,800 yuan. currently around $4,350. and just 10% of the model 3’s market price in china. and features a 17 horsepower, 85 Nm (Newton-meter) motor with a top speed of 62 mph. The Wuling Hongguang Mini EV’s 9.2-kilowatt-hour battery gives it a measly 75-mile range.
One report suggests that the average commute in Chinese cities is less than 6 miles and takes up to an hour. so with so much time spent stationary, this little ev may be the perfect solution for so many Chinese workers.
The more expensive model at 38,800 yuan or $5,860 comes with the same power train but an upgraded 13.8-kilowatt battery giving it a range of 106 miles. neither variant is eligible for the government’s subsidy which usually applies to EVs. because the batteries do not meet the requirements of energy density.
Future with European and US Markets
It’s unlikely we’ll be seeing this car stateside or on European roads anytime soon though. and that’s due to the rigorous safety measures cars must go through to get on. our roads although GM describes the steel used as high strength.
It doesn’t feature a single airbag. anti-lock braking, a tire pressure monitoring system, and two times Isofix points for child car seats do make an appearance. although we’re not sure if these are included in the basic price. press photos also show rear parking sensors, air conditioning, electric windows, and radio. but we don’t know for sure if these are standard features.
The first three weeks after launch saw more than fifteen thousand units sold. with cumulative orders surpassing 15,000 by the end of August just a few weeks later. this made the SAIC-GM Wuling Hongguang Mini EV more popular in china than the tesla model 3 in terms of total units sold. and this is just a sign of things to come to GM says over 40 of the cars that will be launched in China over the next five years will be electrified.
Right now, this mini EV is the cheapest electric car available to purchase in China. but the company faces stiff competition from other Chinese companies including BYD Auto and BAIC BluePark. a company that aims to bring together automotive transport and energy consumption. with SAIC-GM already powering the production of the MG range in the UK.
SAIC-GM Wuling Hongguang Mini EV Specs Summary
- Top Speed: 62 mph (100 kph)
- Battery: 9.3 kWh and 139. kWh
- Range: 75 miles and 106 miles
- Motor: 85 Nm Torque. 17 HP
- Full Cargo Space: 741 L
- Safety Options: No airbags, anti-lock braking, tire pressure monitoring, Isofix points.