There is an awesome new market for cool mini EVs in China. The Wuling Mini EV shook up the EV market in the country since it was launched in mid-2020. It has gone on to sell almost a million units in China in such a short time. There are several mini EVs on the market in China now, including the Cherry’s QQ Ice Cream flavors. Jose Pontes’ regular updates on the China market are always fascinating and show the rise and rise of EVs in China. I am always on the lookout for more of the affordable EVs on those updates as China probably presents our best shot of taking affordable EVs to the world after they meet local demand and ramp up overseas export programs, just as they did for the solar panel industry.
One new vehicle that is made for China that has caught my eye is Geely’s Panda Mini EV. I look forward to seeing it featuring regularly and climbing up the sales charts in China. Geely wants you to “unleash your cuteness” with its new Panda Mini EV that comes with a 64-inch panoramic sun roof (canopy). It starts from about ¥55,800 in China, which is about $8,000. For this amount you get up to 22 kW charging (DC) which Geely says takes 30 minutes from 30% to 80%, 7 kW on AC, a reverse camera, smart internet, an app to start to turn on AC in the car before you hop in for a drive, unlock the car with your phone, Bluetooth, and a 9.2-inch screen etc. The battery capacity is 17.03 kWh, giving a CLTC range of 200 km. The maximum motor power is 30 kW. Geely also say that the car provides standard passenger car sitting posture and mention laser welding to hint at its roominess and superior build quality for this vehicle segment.
China’s Low Speed Electric Vehicle (LSEV) market has probably set a precedent for this type of disruptive innovation. LSEVs vehicles were quite popular in small towns and in the rural areas in China. They are quite an upgrade from bicycles, e-bikes, and motorcycles, as they protect drivers from the elements and generally cost less than $3,000. Over 5 million of these LSEVs, which generally come with lead acid batteries, have been sold in China. Now for just a few thousand dollars more, people can now get better quality, faster, more powerful city EVs with longer lasting LFP batteries.
China’s mini EV sector was always bound to keep improving as the OEMs continue to iterate and feed the demand for this vehicle segment. It’s good to see more large companies such as Geely join in on the action. For now, China keeps getting all the good stuff — affordable small EVs that are perfect for most people’s daily needs in this target market. Early leaders in this space, such as the SAIC, General Motors, and Wuling joint venture, are now adding updated versions targeting some overseas markets, such as the Wuling Air which is produced in Indonesia. The Wuling Air will also be exported to Egypt and India under the MG brand perhaps. Hopefully more of these mini EVs will also start to find their way to other parts of the world.
Images courtesy of Geely
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