Tuesday, September 29, 2020

This P 212k GM-Designed EV Just Beat Tesla in China Sales


With China changing subsidies on electric vehicles, one unlikely vehicle emerged as the sales champion over there: the SAIC-GM-Wuling Hongguan Mini EV.

Despite being basic with no airbags and even optional air conditioning, buyers have been enthusiastic. The two-door, four-seater EV hatchback sold 15,000 examples in August alone making it the top-selling EV in China, surpassing even the Tesla Model 3. Distributed under the Wuling brand, the Hongguan Mini EV costs a mere RMB 29,800 or less than P 212,000.

Inspired by Japan’s kei cars, the Wuling Hongguan Mini EV is styled with straight lines and square elements. It’s 2,917 mm long, 1,493 mm wide, and 1,621 mm tall. The interior configuration includes 12 storage compartments and a bench-style rear seat that can be folded flat to create up to 741 liters of cargo space—enough for two 26-inch suitcases or a baby stroller.

SAIC-GM-Wuling co-engineered the Hongguan Mini EV. Its small electric motor makes about 18 horsepower and 85 Nm of torque. Top speed is set at 100 km/h, while range maxes out at 170 kilometers. It can be charged using a 240-volt outlet though. Its body is made of 57 percent high-strength steel and it does come with ABS with EBD, and tire pressure sensors.

In the past, Chinese government subsidies rewarded higher, energy-dense battery systems. Today, with the Chinese government wanting to save energy, they are now prioritizing EVs with better power efficiency. This meant a shift for automakers who started creating smaller EVs with a more moderate range, aimed at customers who can charge cars more easily.

Bidding to reverse a sales decline due to a slower economy and stiff competition, GM expects electrified vehicles to make up more than 40 percent of its new launches in China over the next five years.

The Detroit automaker is revamping plants in Shanghai, Wuhan, and Liuzhou under its two Chinese JVs to enable production lines making gasoline cars to turn out EVs.

Meanwhile, Great Wall Motor and GAC are also planning more electric models with a range below 400 kilometers.

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