Last year, Chinese auto manufacturer SAIC-GM-Wuling Motors introduced its new Hongguang Mini EV that could dramatically increase the market for EVs. In January, sales of the budget electric car in China (25,778) were around double those of the Tesla Model 3 (13,843) and according to some analysts could become the second most-sold EV worldwide next to the Model 3. Total sales since its July 2020 introduction have topped 175,000. This latest Mini EV claims to get 8 miles per kWh compared to the 4 miles/kWh in a Tesla Model 3.
This new model could be a game-changer. It is comfortable for two, can hold 4 in a pinch, is a hatchback with a lot of interior room, has a top speed of 62 mph and has a range up to 110 miles in the extended version. It is a pretty convenient commuter car, not so much a highway car. Its price is particularly impressive because it is half what the same manufacturer had been charging for its smaller and much less capable Baojun E100 ($9275 for the long-range model vs. $5600 for the new full-feature long-range Mini EV). The significance of it goes beyond this one model. Probably this is the first in a new line of better economy EVs coming from SAIC-GM-Wuling, the largest auto manufacturer in China, as they bid to become the #1 EV company globally.
If the Mini EV were made in Europe to meet all requirements there, the price is estimated to be over $12,000, still an attractive number.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gary Simon is the Chair of CleanStart's Board. A seasoned energy executive and entrepreneur with 45 years of experience in business, government, and non-profits.