The success of the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV is an example of market-creating innovation. The Wuling Mini EV has created a new and exciting market in China. Several firms are also ramping up production of vehicles in this segment, while other firms are now introducing similar mini electric vehicles into this market. Consumers outside China have just been observing and wishing these small affordable mini EVs would start coming to more markets around the world.
A lot of these small Chinese city EVs are in their first generation, probably building on learnings from China’s large low-speed electric vehicle market. These vehicles will get better and better with every iteration and probably get some improvements with added safety features with a look at the export market. They will also get an improved suspension to handle some of the interesting roads in some developing countries and in rural areas. So, this mini EV revolution will probably spread to other parts of the world sooner rather than later.
Right now, in China, these mini EVs have been mostly used by consumers in lower-tier Chinese cities for personal transportation. They are quite popular with first-time vehicle owners and young women. Another good application of these mini EVs is in the last-mile delivery industry, as we have seen with the Citroen Ami Cargo in Europe and other small EVs. Now, Mullen, an emerging electric vehicle manufacturer, has announced that it has secured exclusive sales, distribution, and branding rights to a new compact urban delivery electric vehicle. The vehicle is called the I-GO and is fully EU-standard homologated and certified for sale in select European markets. The vehicle is made in China.
Mullen says the I-GO is perfect for urban European markets and that the I-GO bridges the gap between the growing demand for quick deliveries and space constraints found throughout the dense cities of Europe. Although in China the vehicle is mostly a passenger vehicle, Mullen and its partners have optimized and configured the I-GO to be a commercial EV that is fully certified and ready for sale in the UK, Germany, Spain, France, and Ireland. The first vehicles are set for Germany in December 2022. The starting price is $11,999 (€12,111) plus VAT and local transportation. Mullen is engaged in licensing discussions with potential partners. The I-GO will be retailed and serviced through local European distributors.
Mullen sees very high demand for ready-to-market urban delivery vehicles in Europe. The company has seized the opportunity to extend its branding and marketing reach to the European market through its partnership with the manufacturers of the I-GO. The Mullen I-GO, intended for companies focusing on last-mile deliveries, is based on a 96-inch wheelbase, 16.5-kWh battery pack, rear-wheel drive, and a curb weight of 1,753 lb. With a range of 124 miles, according to the NEDC estimate, the vehicle can easily handle the stop/go and weave in/out typical of narrow European urban streets. The I-GO was built with the intention of getting to the customer’s door faster, all while decreasing pollution and congestion levels across Europe.
“Securing the exclusive sales, distribution, and branding rights in major European countries for a ready-to-market electric commercial delivery vehicle is a huge win for the Company. The Company plans on licensing its rights to established dealerships in these desirable European markets. Essentially, this transaction provides the Company with revenue-generating opportunities and promotes and extends the Company’s brand into other countries while at the same time allowing the Company to remain fully focused on its mission of manufacturing its line-up of electric vehicles in the USA. The goal has always been for Mullen to build a complete line of commercial electric vehicles, and we realized that one of the most critical issues today is inefficient last-mile delivery in urban markets,” said David Michery, CEO and chairman of Mullen Automotive. “The introduction of the I-GO, a fully EU homologated vehicle, creates opportunities for the Company in Europe where there is a huge demand for this type of small delivery vehicle.”
The I-GO will join Mullen’s current commercial vehicle lineup, which includes Class 1 and Class 2 EV cargo vans. Mullen recently made a majority acquisition of Bollinger Motors, whose portfolio includes Class 3 through Class 6 commercial vehicles.
In addition to securing the exclusive sales, distribution, and branding rights for the I-GO for Spain, France, Germany, the UK, and Ireland, the company entered into an asset purchase agreement to acquire all assets of Electric Last Mile Solutions, Inc. and Electric Last Mile, Inc. (“ELMS”) from the ELMS Bankruptcy Estates.
Featured image from Mullen
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