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Honda Fit & Wuling Bingo April Sales In China Give Us An Indication Of What’s To Come

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One of my favourite reports of the month, the China EV Sales Report, was published yesterday. I always look forward to the monthly China EV Sales Reports here on CleanTechnica. That’s because markets like China and India are probably the most likely candidates for scaling affordable electric vehicles for the masses in their home markets, and thereafter helping to facilitate a transition to electric mobility in other places around the world as well.

I recently authored an article following the launch of the new BYD Seagull in China where the new Seagull was launched at prices that are lower than a comparable popular internal combustion engine hatchback such the Honda Fit. The Seagull was officially launched at 73,800 yuan ($10,690). Just under $11,000 for a compact hatchback with a 30.8 kWh battery is really impressive. The Seagull is based on BYD’s e-platform 3.0 and falls under the Ocean series, which also includes the Dolphin and the Seal. The Seagull has a single electric motor with 75 hp (55 kW) and 135 Nm of torque. It is front-wheel drive. It also has a top speed of 130 km/h, and acceleration from 0–50 km/h takes 4.9 seconds. The two Blade battery options of 30.08 kWh and 38.88 kWh give ranges of 305 km and 405 km (CLTC) respectively. The Seagull has fast charging, which takes 30 minutes to get from 10% to 80% battery. I must say it looks really good at that price. The 2023 Honda Fit 1.5L ICE starts from 89,800 yuan ($12,500). Therefore, the BYD Seagull is already cheaper than this type of common ICE car.

There is another cool small hatchback that has also been launched recently in the Chinese market, which is the Wuling Bingo. The Bingo looks like another smash hit from the SAIC, GM, and Wuling joint venture. Here are the specs of the Wuling Bingo: The Bingo’s dimensions are 3950/1708/1580 mm with a wheelbase of 2560 mm. It will have two options, one with a 30 kW (41 hp) motor and another with a 50 kW (68 hp) motor. These options will come in a 17.3 kWh and a 31.9 kWh version with a range of 203 km or 333 km, respectively.

The Wuling Bingo is even cheaper than the BYD Seagull. The Wuling Bingo starts from around $8,600. With such attractive pricing, surely both the BYD Seagull and the Wuling Bingo should do well in China and easily beat ICE vehicles in a similar segment on the sales charts. Well, we are starting to see the first signs of that. As reported in the latest China sales report, the Wuling Bingo sold 15,011 units in April, its first full month of sales, beating the Honda Fit in China (6,453 units). This is pretty impressive for a model in its first full month of sales and still in production ramp-up. The BYD Seagull had its first full month of sales in May and I look forward to seeing how well it does in this segment. The Seagull should also find it fairly easy to outdo ICE equivalents like the Honda Fit. The interesting battle could actually be between the two new EV hatchbacks and in a future plethora of other similar electric hatchbacks that are surely to follow in this segment.

The result from the China’s April sales figures could point to what’s to come in the very near future in other markets as well. The BYD Seagull and the Wuling Bingo are only available in China at the moment, but as these OEMs ramp up production, we will hopefully see these models being offered in many more markets around the world sooner rather than later. The results on the sales front could also be the same, with these new small EVs outselling equivalent fossil fuel vehicles and disrupting the vehicle ecosystem in those markets as well.

Images courtesy of Wuling

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Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai has been fascinated with batteries since he was in primary school. As part of his High School Physics class he had to choose an elective course. He picked the renewable energy course and he has been hooked ever since. At university he continued to explore materials with applications in the energy space and ending up doing a PhD involving the study of radiation damage in High Temperature Gas Cooled Nuclear Reactors. He has since transitioned to work in the Solar and Storage industry and his love for batteries has driven him to obsess about electric vehicles.


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