As I wrote in my last article on my journey from ICE to EV, I used to read a lot of CleanTechnica and EVSalesblog when I was at university. I used to wait eagerly for the last few days of the month. That’s because that’s when one of my favorite monthly articles would be released. The China monthly sales report! I would be keen to see which new models popped up in the sales charts and how well they were doing.
Not many around the world can afford a $50,000 EV. A lot of people would really want a 50 kWh Renault Zoe for the price of a Renault Clio. That still seems to be a while away, but just like everything else from cell phones to solar panels, when China starts producing these things in large volumes, the prices of these products drop significantly over time, allowing more people to afford the products. So, I thought if a real EV for the people was going to come it would probably come from China, hence my monthly dose of the China EV sales update became one of my favorite moments of every month.
A couple of years ago, it looked like the BAIC EC series would be a real game-changer. In October 2018, the BAIC EC sales got to a whopping 20,648 units for the month. BAIC has a presence in several markets across the world, including Zimbabwe, where several ICE models are assembled in Harare. I thought, if they really stepped up production, it would be easy for BAIC to get that EC Series to all those markets. But then the EC series suddenly did a Houdini from the sales charts after that.
There are some fascinating new models coming out of China these days. The MG ZS EV has been well received in Europe. The BYD Han and its revolutionary Blade Battery looks stunning, Nio’s models and the battery swapping looks promising, and then there is the XPeng P7!
Chinese EVs are getting better all the time, but there is one model that has really caught my eye recently and that is the $4,200 Wuling HongGuang Mini EV! It’s already got 50,000 orders and let’s face it, who wouldn’t want a $4,200 city car?
It has two battery options and some decent specs for that price:
- 120 km of range using 9.2 kWh battery (NEDC I suppose) for just $4,112
- 170 km of range using 13.8 kWh battery (NEDC I suppose) for $5,540
- A top speed of 100 km/h
- A 13 kW and 85 Nm electric motor
- Can seat up to 4 people
- Very decent boot space of 741 liters of space when the rear seats are folded down
- 2,917 millimeters long, 1,493 millimeters wide, and 1,621 millimeters high, with a 1,940-millimeter wheelbase
Chinese models dominate our list of 7 Potential ICE Killers, but this Wuling HongGuang Mini EV could be the real game-changing ICE Killer. I would put this under what Clayton M. Christensen et al., in the Prosperity Paradox call Market Creating Innovations. Christensen describes Market Creating Innovations as innovations that involve the development of “simple products for unserved populations who historically couldn’t afford or didn’t have access to something.”
I am already thinking I would love to see these displacing all those noisy tuk-tuks we see in East Africa, but am hoping these can be assembled in Africa in the near future as well. Why would you buy an ICE 3-wheeler for about $3,800 when you can get this cool city EV for just $4,200 if they are mass-produced and widely available?
This EV will put more money back in the pockets of all those independent tuk-tuk drivers and owners thanks to lower running costs. And with the on-demand delivery/e-commerce industries growing on the continent and around the world, this makes the perfect last-mile delivery vehicle. It could be another great addition as well to the car-sharing industry.