The smallest, most affordable and best-selling electric car.
The Wuling Hongguang Mini EV is a tiny car that boasts a few “most-sellers”. It is by far the cheapest mass-produced electric car, and its size makes it one of the smallest usable cars. Moreover, it is the best-selling electric car in China, overtaking even the Tesla Model 3. The Mini EV is gaining popularity in China, making it a significant player in the electric car market.
With a price tag of around $5,000, the Mini EV is the most affordable EV in China. To put that in perspective, that’s about the same as the cost of installing Apple CarPlay in a Ferrari or installing a cigar holder in a Rolls-Royce. While these are extreme comparisons, they emphasize the affordability of the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV. The car’s top speed is limited at 100 km/h (62 miles per hour), and it can travel about 120 km (75 miles) on a single charge of its 9.3 kWh battery. For those requiring more range, a more powerful 13.8 kWh battery is available, increasing the range by 50 km (31 miles). The vehicle is rear-wheel driven by a 20 kW electric motor. Charging from a regular outlet takes 9 hours for the larger battery and 2.5 hours for the smaller one.
Can Wuling succeed in Europe?
The Wuling Hongguang Mini EV comes in several variants, making it by no means boring. In addition to the standard hardtop version, there is a roofless version and a version with extended range. This variety reflects the broad appeal of the car and its suitability for different preferences.
The use of materials in the Mini EV is markedly different from traditional automobile manufacturing. The car is expected to require more frequent maintenance, but the low cost of such maintenance will not be a significant barrier for many owners.
The Wuling Hongguang Mini EV theoretically seats up to four passengers. Although rear seats are available, it is difficult to predict how comfortable the ride will be. What came as a surprise to many was that General Motors is a co-owner of the company, along with China’s SAIC Group. The two companies have been working together for over 20 years, making this joint project well worthwhile.
In a crowded urban environment, the Mini EV is a practical solution. It can be easily parked and navigated on city streets, making it convenient for everyday errands, including major shopping trips. The only condition is that you should not go shopping with more than one passenger.