It has been expected that the Chinese-made Tesla Model 3 would take the crown as the best-selling EV in China. So it came as a surprise in August when the Wuling Hong Guang Mini EV sold over 15,000 units. But that’s not even the story. There were over 50,000 orders for the little EV in August. That’s huge. The GM China EV joint venture is looking like a smart move.
The mini-EV is a joint venture between SAIC, GM, and Liuzhou Wuling Motors
The cute mini EV is a joint venture between SAIC, GM, and Liuzhou Wuling Motors. It’s a chunky design that seats four and is very inexpensive at $4,100 converted to US dollars. Granted, it wouldn’t pass US safety regulations so we won’t be seeing it here. But, if you could buy one for under, say, $8,000, would you be interested?
The Wuling Hong Guang Mini EV isn’t in the same segment as a Tesla Model 3 but it fills a need
Until now most of China’s EV sales have been to fleets or the government. China has been trying to increase private sales to improve the environment and create less city congestion. So, while the Wuling Hong Guang Mini EV isn’t in the same segment as a Tesla Model 3 it fulfills some government directives.
Two models feature different ranges. With the 9.2 kWh battery, the Wuling Hong Guang Mini EV gets 75 miles of range. Stepping up to the 13.8 kWh battery nets 124 miles of range. These power the 27 hp motor. The top speed is said to be 62 mph. That might also negate possible US entry.
The Wuling Hong Guang Mini EV is around 114-inches overall. The wheelbase is just under 77-inches. So it is a rather dinky EV for sure. It is expected that the mini-EV be charged at home especially as there are so few charging stations in China. Without fast-charging abilities this also saves cost.
Around 100 “experience stores” have been sprinkled around major cities in China
Around 100 “experience stores” have been sprinkled around major cities in China to help goose interest and sales. “The model is equipped with the BMS intelligent battery management system, as well as low-temperature preheating technology and battery insulation,” according to Wuhan. “It has received an advanced IP68 waterproof and dustproof rating and been put through 16 rigorous safety tests. The battery’s functions can be remotely monitored via a smartphone app.
“Adding to the safety features, more than 57% of the Hong Guang MINI EV’s body consists of high-strength steel. It also comes with the anti-lock braking system (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), and a reverse camera. The back seats are equipped with two ISOFIX child safety seat restraint interfaces to cater to young families.” It will be interesting to see if the initial attention and sales are sustainable, or if Tesla creeps up and surpasses it.