The Tesla Model 3 Is the Fastest-Selling Electric Car, but This Strange Microcar Is a Close Second
There’s no denying that Tesla has a stranglehold over the electric vehicle market. And with the Model 3 being the first relatively affordable electric car, it’s taken over as the best-seller. But you’ve probably never heard of the second best-selling car, a micro EV from China. It’s called the Wuling Hong Guang, and it’s remarkably odd.
The Wuling Hong Guang is a tiny electric car you’ve never heard of
At 114 inches long, it’s just six inches longer than a Smart Fortwo. But despite the short length, you can cram four passengers in the Wuling Hong Guang electric car. And it has basic features, from air conditioning and rear parking sensors to anti-lock brakes.
But what this micro EV lacks in size, it also lacks in power. It has a single, 17 horsepower motor that can get the car up to a top speed of 62 mph. And buyers have two choices in battery packs: a 9.3 kWh battery with 75 miles of range, and a 13.9 kWh with 106 miles of range. The range might not be much, but with such a tight interior, you probably wouldn’t want to go on long trips in the Hong Guang anyways.
In fact, most major Chinese cities going electric-only need to make short trips. This makes the Hong Guang a much better alternative than the Tesla Model 3. In fact, Tesla is struggling to compete against cars like the Hong Guang since they’re dirt cheap.
The Wuling’s low pricetag drives its high sales rate
For a base model Hong Guang electric car, buyers will only have to fork over about $4,162 USD (though, obviously, you don’t use US dollars in China). And if you splurge on the fully-loaded trim, you’ll only have to spend $5,607. Tesla, meanwhile, had to raise prices in America so they could lower prices in China, just to try and compete with these budget EVs.
And while the Tesla Model 3 may sell 215,000 units per year globally, the Hong Guang manages to sell 125,000 units in China alone (according to Electric Hybrid Vehicle Technology). And they beat out sales of the Tesla Model Y by about 25,000 units. In other words, this small, strange electric car fills a much-needed city commuter niche that we haven’t explored.
Though many would argue that electric cars with a low range wouldn’t survive in an American market, and they’re probably correct. New York is heavily populated, with over 8 million people. But it doesn’t hold a candle to Shanghai China’s 30 million residents. In other words, we don’t need these micro EVs as much as China does, though there’s still a chance we might someday see them here.
Wuling wants to bring the Hong Guang abroad… eventually
One other tidbit of information about Wuling you might find interesting is that they’re partially owned by GM. That means they have at least a little hold here in the states, even if they haven’t used it. Though there are no official plans as of yet, and chances are the Hong Guang will end up in Europe before it reaches the states.
But the Hong Guang wouldn’t be the first tiny, Chinese electric car to wash up on US shores even if they sell it here. That title belongs to the Kandi cooperation, which produces the K23 and smaller K27 cars. It’s another bare-bones EV, though the cheapest car available costs around $10,000 after tax credits. In other words, it’s not nearly as cheap as the Hong Guang.
Whether or not this little EV will come to the states isn’t clear, but I wouldn’t bet your life’s savings on it. That said, there’s no denying that other countries value a small, cheap electric car to help usher in a new era of emissions regulations.