The smash hit Wuling Hongguang Mini EV is a three-door, four-seat vehicle that has helped create an exciting new market for very small electric vehicles. Since its launch in 2020, the Mini EV has gone on to sell over a million units in China in a short space of time, and its unprecedented success also helped inspire similar vehicles from other manufacturers in China. This was because at around $5,000, it offered an opportunity for a lot of people who could not normally afford a vehicle to be able to get a good vehicle for such a price, and an electric one at that. The Mini EV was particularly popular in lower-tier cities in China as well as with young female drivers.
The SAIC-GM-Wuling joint venture followed this up with several iterations of this vehicle, including the colourful Macaron Edition, the Gameboy Edition, as well as a higher-spec Wuling Air/MG Comet Variant. However, due to increasing competition in this segment from rival brands as well as the arrival of larger yet affordable vehicles such as the Wuling Bingo and the BYD Seagull, the original Mini EV is no longer registering the incredible monthly sales from a year or so ago, when it was hitting over 35,000 unit sales per month quite comfortably.
However, in another bold and innovative move that could potentially create another new and exciting market for affordable mini delivery vehicles, the JV has just started the wider rollout of the Wuling E10 delivery vehicle. As seen in a post on X by Tycho de Feijter, “The Wuling E10 is a delivery vehicle, designed to drive through narrow alleys and through busy traffic. Size: 3310x1080x1690, with a 2200 wheelbase. The turning radius is only 4.3 meters! Curb weight is 605 kg. It can carry a shipload of Taobao stuff. (Taobao is a Chinese online shopping platform) The volume of the cargo box is 1.7 cubic meters (size: 1625x1000x1040), and the maximum load is 215 kg. Power comes from a single electric motor at the rear with 20 kW and 85 Nm, good for a top speed of 71 km/h. Electricity is stored in a 9 kWh lithium-ion battery for 115 km of CLTC range.”
Here is the remarkably interesting bit for me: The Wuling E10 is a single-seat vehicle, and the seat is centrally placed in this very narrow vehicle. Left-hand drive or right-hand drive? No worries! The driver’s seats is in a central position. I suppose this should make it a neutral vehicle and easy to not only navigate but also to register in most markets around the world. I’m not sure if this is in the plans for the export market given that it sports the red Wuling badge, as opposed to the silver Wuling badge that usually indicates an export model. This vehicle needs to go global, though, and fast. I assume given how quickly SGMW JV ramped up production of the original Hongguang Mini EV, the company can crank up production of this one very fast.
Starting at the equivalent just $5,070 in China, this E10 should do very well and define a new era in the last-mile delivery sector. There are several sectors where this kind of vehicle could find multiple applications, and it will also be a game changer for individuals and small business owners, as it offers incredible savings on running costs compared to fossil fuel equivalents.
I use delivery services quite often, and a lot of the time, I see that a large diesel lorry or a fairly large diesel van come to the gate to drop off a very small package or a letter (in the case of the van). Could it be that I am at the end of the line and they would have dropped off other stuff first? Or we need to seriously start right-sizing delivery vehicles for some applications. I see a lot of value from a Wuling E10 type mini delivery vehicle. The costs to charge this thing and maintain it should really trump any alternative for last-mile deliveries. I also see it disrupting the ICE tuk-tuk market. At this price, would you buy an ICE three-wheeler of this four-wheeler mini EV delivery vehicle?
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