The Wuling Hong Guang MINI EV is China’s absolute best-selling electric vehicle, topping Tesla and everyone else in sales. When you compare it to one of the most affordable EVs stateside, the nearly $28,000 Nissan Leaf, it’s easy to see why.
The GM-brand Wuling MINI EV costs between $4,000 and $6,000 with current exchange rates, has a sleek design, plenty of cargo space, and has a range of around 100 miles per charge. If you had no idea Chinese EVs were so cheap, you’re not alone.
For those wondering, The Mini EV was launched in July of 2020 through a joint venture between GM and the Chinese companies Wuling and SAIC. If GM can make an excellent and affordable EV for China, why can’t they do it in the United States?
Keep in mind that it only seats four and has a paltry top speed of 62 mph, but still, it’s a capable little city vehicle we’d love to see elsewhere. For the stunningly affordable price, you’d expect a barebones car. Instead, looking at the interior images provided by GM, you’ll notice a stylish vehicle inside and out.
The high-end model gets buyers comfy two-tone textured seats, four-way adjustability controls, and rear seats with a 20-degree backrest angle. You’ll also find 12 storage compartments throughout the inside, and the bench-style back seat can even fold flat, leaving enough room for suitcases or a baby stroller.
You won’t find a big fancy LCD infotainment display as you would in a Tesla, and the most affordable model doesn’t even have airbags. Obviously, that would be a big problem for U.S. regulations and laws. On the other hand, the more expensive Muling MINI EV comes equipped with airbags and other safety features.
In the current form, this type of vehicle isn’t street legal in the United States. From missing airbags to the 27 horsepower and 62 MPH top speed our streets surpass. However, with a few minor modifications, a little more power, and some upgrades, maybe we’ll eventually see something like this in North America.
An upgraded version of the Wuling MINI EV is expected shortly with double the battery capacity, a 30 kW electric motor (instead of 20 kW) with a range of around 186 miles per charge. Who knows, maybe GM will eventually bring this type of ultra-affordable EV stateside. If so, would you buy one?