Hybrids & Electrics

This Chinese EV Is Set To Be The Next Global VW Beetle

This isn’t the first time we’ve focussed on the Wuling Hong Guang Mini EV. But it is breaking records for sales in China and seems poised to possibly be the next VW Beetle. So, what do we mean by that? When the Beetle hit the US shores it took years for it to get much traction. But because of its quality, price, economy, and funky looks, it built up a following until by the mid-1960s it was becoming a juggernaut. 

Of course, Ford followed with the Pinto, Chevy with the Vega, and AMC with the Gremlin. None could match what the VW had and all eventually crashed and burned. The Beetle soldiered on until the mid-1970s. We may be on the verge of seeing a similar feat with the Hong Guang Mini. 

In January alone over 27,000 Hong Guan EVs were sold in China

Wuling Hong Guang with woman
Wuling Hong Guang | Saic

In January alone over 27,000 were sold in China. It is the top-selling EV there, surpassing even the Tesla Model 3. Worldwide it is the second-best-selling EV. And last year EV sales grew by 40% worldwide. It sold over 15,000 the first 20 days it was available for preorders. 

As EV adoption is shifting in the US, this might be the perfect EV for many to try. Why? Because it’s cheap for starters. Why bury yourself in a $70,000 EV that you may not like? EV adoption is not for everyone. You can buy a cheap EV and test the waters. You won’t be out of much money should you decide a hybrid or ICE vehicle is much preferred. But how much is “cheap?” 

The Hong Guang sells for 28,800 yuan in China-that’s $4,500 in the US

rear 3/4 Wuling Hong Guang with woman
Wuling Hong Guang | Saic

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The Hong Guang sells for 28,800 yuan in China. That’s under $4,500 in the US. Seriously! Granted, there would be shipping and miscellaneous other charges for it to be sold here. But still, even at $7,500, it is super cheap. It would be more than worth it to finance or buy outright a $7,500 EV. 

The range is the main sticking point for many. The Hong Guang Mini can go over 100 miles with the larger battery, or 75 miles with the base batteries. Not a huge range, but how many times do you drive over 100 miles in one trip? 

The Hong Guang is just 118-inches long and only 59-inches wide

Inside of Wuling Hong Guang
Wuling Hong Guang | Saic

Size could be another issue with us Westerners. We like our cars and trucks large. The Hong Guang is just 118-inches long, and only 59-inches wide. Yet it seats four people easily. At least it is going in the right direction. Larger inside, smaller outside. How does it do all of this? Well, one reason could be it has no airbags. Yeah, that’s pretty much a non-starter for US sales. 

But with those airbags and a few other safety features added it would surely be worth a dive into the Us market? At least to give EV adopters a cheaper alternative to the Chevy Bolt. As it stands now, the Hong Guang is set to debut in Europe through a partnership with a Latvian connection. And remember, that Wuling has ties to General Motors so there’s that. 

If not the Hong Guang we are set to witness a breakout EV that combines all of the features everyone loved with the Beetle but with a 2020s EV slant.