The blockbuster Wuling Hongguang Mini EV has been a huge success in China. It has been so successful that it has created a totally new market in China, with several firms also introducing EVs in this category. The Mini EV is very popular in the 3rd-tier Chinese cities and is enabling people who would not have been able to afford a car to now be in a position to get a decent affordable vehicle. Starting at just $4,200, the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV’s appeal to non-consumers, or the market not traditionally targeted by automakers, has a real potential to disrupt the auto industry.
All over the world, people have just been wondering when they would also get their hands on an affordable city electric car. The SAIC, General Motors, and Wuling partnership has started responding to this call. They started with an assembly plant in Indonesia to begin servicing that market and others in the region. This plant is now producing the Wuling Air, an upgraded model of the popular Wuling Hongguang Mini EV.
Developed on the Global Small Electric Vehicle (GSEB) platform, The Wuling Air has already been a big hit in Indonesia, selling over 8,000 units in half a year after its launch last year. India is now officially the next market for this little city EV. The SAIC-GM-Wuling (SGMW) joint venture has elected to go with the MG brand in India, building on the brand’s presence there. The MG ZS EV has been on sale in India for quite some time, along with some of MG’s other ICE and hybrid vehicles. Therefore in India, the Wuling Air becomes the MG Comet EV! The MG Comet starts from 798,000 Rupees in India, which is about $9,760.
Here are the specs of the MG Comet EV:
- Length x Width x Height (mm) 2,974 x 1,505 x 1,640
- Wheelbase 2,010 mm
- Seat capacity: 4
- Suspension (Front): MacPherson Strut
- Suspension (Rear): Multi-Link Coil Suspension
- Wheel and tire: 145/70R12
- Brakes: Disc (Front) + Drum (Rear)
- Steering: Electric Power Steering
- Turning Circle Radius (m): 4.2
- Max. Power: 42 PS (40hp)
- Max. Torque: 110 Nm
- Battery Capacity: 17.3 kWh
- Charger Connection: Type 2
- Electric Motor Type: Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor
- Estimated 3.3kW Charge Time (0-100%) 7 hours
- Estimated 3.3 kW Charge Time (0-80%): 5.5 hours
- Range in Single Charge: 230 km*
- Transmission: Automatic
- IP67 Rated Battery
- Dual Front Airbags
- ABS + EBD
- Reverse Parking Camera
- Rear Parking Sensors
- LED Rear Fog lamp
- Follow me home headlamps
- Tire Pressure Monitoring System (Indirect)
- Front & Rear Seat belt reminder
- Driver & Co-Driver Seat Belt with Load Limiter
- 3-point seatbelts for all passengers
- Manual Parking Brake
- Manual Day/Night IRVM
- ISOFIX Rear Child Seat Anchors
- Speed-sensing auto door lock
- Impact-sensing door unlock
*The range figure is based on an internal test at ARAI under standard test conditions.
Other features include:
- Full Digital Cluster with 26.04 cm (10.25 inch) embedded LCD Screen
- Remote Central Locking
- One-touch slide and recline passenger seat for 2nd row entry
- Intelligent Key
- Keyless Entry
- Smart Start System
- Power Adjust ORVM
- Tilt Steering
- Front Power Windows
- Driver window Auto Up
- Manual AC & Heater
- Front Co-Driver grab handle
- Driver & Co-Driver Vanity Mirror
- Wireless Android Auto & Apple Car Play
- 2 Speakers
- Bluetooth Music & Calling
- Steering-Mounted Audio Controls
- Front 12V Power outlet
- 3 USB ports with Fast Charging
MG says i-SMART services are complementary for 1 year with the purchase of a new MG that hosts the i-SMART technology. The services are activated on the date of delivery and the valid period of services will commence from such date. 2GB Data/Month free for 1 year from date of delivery. After the consumption of 2GB within a month, customers need to recharge to continue data-related services. i-SMART has over 55 connected car features.
So you can get all this in a 3-door 4-seater city EV for under $10,000! How cool is that? MG says it costs just 519 Rupees to charge the Comet at the standard grid price. They go on to say charging the Comet per month is even cheaper than buying a large pizza in India, a large cheese pizza to be specific. A look at some of the pizza places shows that a large pizza costs around 599 rupees. Interesting approach to marketing electric car charging costs.
It’s great to see that the Wuling Air is now in more markets. I hope the SAIC-GM-Wuling joint venture takes this 17.3 kWh Wuling Air/MG Comet, as well as the other variants with larger battery packs, to more markets around the world, especially given the fact that it is now available in both Left- and Right-Hand Drive. The joint venture led the way when they essentially created this market for small affordable city mini EVs. Now they are taking these city EVs to places like Indonesia and India which are potentially very huge markets for this type of car. I hope also that the plethora of firms that have followed the Wuling Mini EV’s steps in China also follow in other markets outside China.
Images courtesy of MG
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