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The Wuling HongGuang Mini EV Lights Up The Exhibition At Ghana’s 1st E-Mobility Conference

Last Friday, Ghana held its 1st E-Mobility Conference and Exhibition. The conference was organised as part of Ghana’s “Drive Electric Initiative” (DEI-Gh). The Drive Electric Initiative was launched in October 2019. Ghana’s Drive Electric Initiative aims:

  • To drive the utilisation of Ghana’s excess electricity supply.
  • To produce environmental savings that will benefit the country’s climate efforts by reducing emissions from transport related activities.
  • To promote the introduction and promotion of cost-effective green energy technologies.
  • To position Ghana against dumping of obsolete ICE vehicles as the world shift towards e-vehicles.

To ensure that Africa does not become a dumping ground of obsolete ICE vehicles, it is essential that affordable EVs are made available across the continent. The good news is that these small city EVs are starting to find their way to Africa faster than I thought. I like to call this group of affordable EVs “ICE Killers”. I call them ICE Killers because they could land in Africa at prices comparable to used ICE vehicles that dominate imports into these markets and will be able to displace a good portion of used ICE vehicle imports. They could help catalyse this transition.

One of our readers, Assaf, in the comments section of the previous article about the conference said, “The real ICE Killer would be the Wuling mini and similar even cheaper new EVs getting there.” I agree with this view. In fact, I wrote an article on this last year. Well, Assaf and many of our readers would be happy to know that the Wuling HongGuang Mini EV is coming to Ghana! Egle Motors, who are the authorized distributor for Wuling Automobile Industry Company Ltd in Ghana, brought a couple of Wuling HongGuang Mini EVs to the conference for delegates to see and test drive. It was actually the Macaron Edition of the Wuling HongGuang Mini EV that was on show at the conference.

SAIC, GM, and Wuling should be commended for making an effort to sell the Wuling HongGuang Mini EV. It has only been on the market for less than two years, but it has already sold almost 400,000 units in China alone. 400,000 units in under two years in one market is really impressive when you consider the fact that it took almost 10 years for the Nissan Leaf to sell 500,000 units globally. Of course, the mini EV’s affordable price tag has played a major role in its success, but SAIC, GM, and Wuling have also done a great job in promoting it. And now it looks like SAIC, GM, and Wuling want to push exports. It’s really great to see that African countries are immediately on their radar.

One of our readers, “Eh Canadian,” in the comments section under the recent article “SAIC, GM, & Wuling To Release A Remix Of The Smash Hit Mini EV,” said, “Wuling’s real innovation is successfully marketing to the ‘TikTok generation’. People want to post pictures of their Wuling Mini onto Social Media. It’s not a car, it’s a fashion accessory, like posting a selfie of yourself wearing Apple Earbuds to let everyone know you have Apple Earbuds. And just as some people customize their iPhone with a case, Wuling is encouraging owners to customize their Minis with wraps, or customize their key fobs. They’re playing the Social Media game very well.” If Wuling can manage to make many units for export markets, it could really light up the African EV scene. This car presents a good entry point into vehicle ownership or usership for many young people on the continent, as it will be in a price bracket they can afford.

The original Wuling HongGuang Mini has two battery options and some decent specs for a very affordable price in China. We will reach out to Egle Motors for the pricing in Ghana:

  • 120 km of range using 9.2 kWh battery (NEDC) for just $4,112 in China.
  • 170 km of range using 13.8 kWh battery (NEDC) for $5,540 in China.
  • 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.

The blockbuster Mini EV is getting an upgrade, and hopefully this version will also come to Ghana as soon as it becomes available in China. The upgrade will give it a slightly longer wheelbase, a 26 kWh battery, up from the 9.2 kWh and 13.8 kWh in the current models. It is also getting a more powerful electric motor upgraded to 30 kW from the previous 20 kW. The upgrade will increase the range to over 300 km NEDC.

Also, on show at the Ghana conference was the Baojun E200. The Baojun E200 is getting an upgrade in China, and after the makeover it will be known as the Nano EV! The new Nano will have a 24 kWh LFP battery and a 29 kW motor. In line with their mission to provide Ghanaians with the best and affordable electric vehicles, Egle Motors also had the Ora Black Cat on show at the exhibition. The Black Cat is already available in Chana, and Ghanaians can buy one now! The Black Cat has a 33 kWh battery pack and a 35 kW motor, enabling a 220 km WLTP range.

With the availability of affordable EVs, Africa is going to facilitate much faster adoption of EVs. Ghana has a serious issue of excess electricity generation capacity, and it sees EVs as one of the most viable avenues to make productive use of this excess capacity. The installed electricity generation capacity available for grid power supply in the country was about 4,990 megawatts (MW). The peak load, however, was around 2,612 MW. The interesting part is the portion of the total dependable grid capacity, which was 4,580 MW in 2019 and was therefore in excess of the peak load by a whopping 1,968 MW! Firms like Egle Motors and their drive to provide affordable EVs in the Ghanaian market are playing a critical role and will help advance this cause. The transition to electric mobility is well underway and its going to happen a whole lot faster than previously thought.

The Wuling HongGuang Mini EV (Macaron Edition) at the 1st E-Mobility Conference and Exhibition in Ghana:

Wuling HongGuang Mini EV

Wuling HongGuang Mini EV

Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Minister For Energy, checking out the Red Ora Black Cat at the 1st E-Mobility Conference & Exhibition under the Drive Electric Initiative:

All images courtesy of Ghana’s Energy Commission

 
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Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai has been fascinated with batteries since he was in primary school. As part of his High School Physics class he had to choose an elective course. He picked the renewable energy course and he has been hooked ever since. At university he continued to explore materials with applications in the energy space and ending up doing a PhD involving the study of radiation damage in High Temperature Gas Cooled Nuclear Reactors. He has since transitioned to work in the Solar and Storage industry and his love for batteries has driven him to obsess about electric vehicles.

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