The big news today is about a little EV that could change the world — the Wuling Mini EV that has been taking China by storm. The diminutive electric car is manufactured by a Chinese joint venture consisting of SAIC, General Motors, and Wuling. SAIC, which is owned by the Chinese government, also owns the MG brand, having purchased it some years ago as the British auto industry imploded. According to Cartoq, a version of the Wuling Mini EV is coming to India, where it will be sold as the MG 320 and will qualify as the least expensive electric car sold in that country.
It’s seems like only yesterday we asked readers if there was a place in the market for simple electric cars that focused on what is important to many drivers around the world — getting where they need to go and back again without walking. Oh, wait! It was only yesterday, and many readers told us they might prefer such a “dumb” car to the “computers on wheels” today’s EV manufacturers insist on building.
The MG 320 will be built on the SAIC-GM-Wuling Global Small Electric Vehicle (GSEV) platform, which is already used for Chinese market for cars such as the Baojun E100, E200, E300, and E300 Plus, as well as the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV. The car will sell for 1 million rupees, equivalent to €11,900. That is less than half the price of the MG ZS EV that is sold in India today and costs €26,000.
Electrive reports the MG E230 will have a 20 kWh battery pack and a range of 150 kilometers. The car will likely be less than 3 meters long, with sales beginning in early 2023. The Wuling Mini EV offers two battery sizes — 9.3 kWh and 13.9 kWh. It is expected to come equipped with ABS, rear parking sensors, an advanced driver assistance system, automatic parking, voice commands, and dual front airbags. Over-the-air updates will also be part of the package, Cartoq says. There are no photos of the MG E230 yet, but expect it to look very similar to the Baojun E300 Plus shown above.
Last year, MG Motor India president Rajeev Chaba told the press the company’s next launch will be an “electric crossover based on a global platform” that will be “customized for range, and Indian regulations and customer tastes.” Chaba also said that the model will be “a mass market EV for all the emerging markets, including India.” That certainly sounds like India may be just one of the countries where the diminutive EV will be sold.
A fairly competent electric car with enough range to meet the daily driving needs of most drivers? Never sell in the US, people who don’t remember the Yugo, the Hyundai Excel, and the Daewoo Lanos will say. Actually, those cars sold remarkably well in America for one reason and one reason only — they offered basic transportation at a very affordable price. Is there a place in the US for such cars again? “We’ll see,” said the Zen master.
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