Unveiling the Most Popular Electric Car in China: Tesla’s Strong Competitor

In our previous series, we introduced several Chinese electric vehicles (EVs) available in Europe, diversifying the options for those looking for unique EV models. Traditional automakers tend to be more conservative, but the Chinese market often demands a different approach. Enter the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV, a small electric car that might not be officially available in Europe but is creating a buzz in its homeland.

The Smallest, Most Affordable, and Best-Selling EV

Wuling Hongguang Mini EV is a tiny car that boasts several “mosts.” It’s undoubtedly the cheapest mass-produced electric car, and its dimensions make it one of the smallest usable vehicles. Moreover, it’s China’s best-selling EV, even surpassing Tesla’s Model 3. The Mini EV is riding a wave of popularity in China, making it a significant player in the EV market.

With a price tag of around $5,000, it’s a remarkable value. To put it in perspective, that’s around the cost of enabling Apple CarPlay in a Ferrari or specifying the cigar holder in a Rolls-Royce. While these are extreme comparisons, they underscore the affordability of the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV. The car’s top speed is capped at 100 km/h (62 mph), and it can typically cover about 120 kilometers (75 miles) on a single charge with its 9.3 kWh battery. For those who need more range, a larger 13.8 kWh battery is available, adding 50 kilometers (31 miles) to the range. The vehicle is rear-wheel-driven by a 20 kW electric motor. Charging from a regular power outlet takes nine hours for the bigger battery and 2.5 hours for the smaller one.


Super cheap electric car Wuling Hongguang Mini EV | photo: GM

Could Wuling Succeed in Europe?

The Wuling Hongguang Mini EV is available in several versions, ensuring it’s anything but boring. Besides the standard hardtop, there’s a version without a roof and one with extended range. This diversity reflects the car’s broad appeal and suitability for different preferences.

The use of materials in the Mini EV is notably different from traditional automotive manufacturing. The car is expected to require more frequent servicing, but the low cost of this maintenance won’t be a significant hindrance for many owners.

The Wuling Hongguang Mini EV theoretically accommodates up to four passengers. While rear seats are available, it’s hard to predict how comfortable the ride might be. The surprise for many is that General Motors is a part-owner of the company, along with China’s SAIC Group. The two companies have been collaborating for over 20 years, making this joint project quite reasonable.

In a crowded urban environment, the Mini EV offers a practical solution. You can park it easily and navigate through city streets, making it convenient for daily errands, including larger shopping trips. The only condition is that you don’t plan to go shopping with more than one passenger. 

Given its attributes, would you like to see this compact electric vehicle in US and EU?

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