I regularly follow updates of EV sales from China here on CleanTechnica. This is because Chinese automakers are probably our best bet for mass production of battery-electric vehicles which across all vehicle segments will reach all corners of the world at affordable prices. Chinese solar panel makers ramped up production big time, resulting in massive price reductions. Cheaper solar panels resulted in strong growth in the utility scale, C&I, as well as residential solar sectors around the world.
Chinese EV manufacturers have been ramping up production of electric vehicles, boosted by strong demand at home. They have already started to export some of these vehicles to Europe and other places, but are now starting to really position themselves for global exports on a larger scale. Major players such as BYD and SAIC are have been very bullish about their global plans. For example, SAIC has been making good progress with some of its MG Models in Europe such as the MG ZS EV and the MG5 station wagon. SIAC is now adding the MG4 to the lineup and is exploring more overseas markets. The MG4 has been receiving some rave reviews so far. The MG4 is aimed the popular hatchback market and it is getting an all-wheel drive “hot hatch” version next year. Already, the MG4 is launching in the UK market at price parity with an entry level version of one of the most popular cars in this category, the VW Golf.
- VW Golf 8 Life (ICE), 1.0 TSI, 6-speed Manual, 108 hp, price £25,340
- MG4, 50.8 kWh (Net), 168 hp, price £25,995
It’s really good to see an all-electric hatchback at price parity with an iconic car such as the VW Golf. This should help get more people driving electric.
Another car that looks set to help transform the motoring landscape in another popular category and price range in Asia and other markets is the Hozon Neta V. The Hozon Neta already has a right-hand drive international version, supporting Hozon’s push for the international market. The Neta V is one of the electric models that have been featuring consistently in the top 20 Chinese NEV sales charts for a while now along with several models from BYD, SAIC, Cherry, Changan, Great Wall, and Leap Motor.
The Neta V was recently launched in Thailand and it is available at a very affordable price. The Neta V starts at around 549,000 baht ($15,000). The Neta V is built in China (to be assembled in Thailand in the near future) and lands at a price which is at parity with popular ICE models such as the Toyota Yaris.
- Toyota Yaris Ativ (ICE), 1.2L Sport CVT, 94 hp, price $14,700
- Hozon Neta V, 38.54 kWh LFP battery from CATL, 95 hp, price $14,900
The longer range entertainment version of the Neta V is equipped with a 55 kW motor producing a maximum of 175 Nm of torque. It has a top speed of 100 km/h, and a 6.6 kW on-board charger, as well as DC fast charging from 30-80% in 30 mins. The 38.54 kWh LFP battery by CATL is good for about 300 km in the WLTP cycle. The Hozon Neta V has a fairly minimalist interior punctuated by a 14.6-inch center screen and a 12-inch instrument screen. Hozon emphasizes that there is no need to press any buttons, as drivers will have full control via the central touch screen. The Neta V also comes with the “Xiao You” AI digital companion as well as built-in apps — including Tiktok! The company is selling a lifestyle in an appealing affordable package that is at parity with equivalent ICE cars in countries such as Thailand. Customers in Thailand are now taking deliveries of the Neta V. Hozon plans to export the Neta V to more countries around the world after the rollout in the ASEAN countries.
The Neta V retails for around $10,000 in China. I hope we get these kinds of vehicle soon in East and Southern Africa where we also drive on the left and need right-hand drive vehicles. Even if the Neta V could land at double the price in China after shipping, import duties, taxes, and dealer margins, it would find a ready market in this part of the world. An EV for $20,000 or less it would be a game changer here. In South Africa for example, a survey by Autotrader showed that most respondents say they would consider switching to an electric car if there were some available for R500,000 or less (about $29,000). A R346,000 ($20,000) Hozon Neta V would sell like hot cakes in South Africa.
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