A pint-sized, cut-price hatchback is carving out a big slice of the electric car market in China.
The Tesla Model 3 has been outsold in China by a $5700 electric micro car, known as the Hongguang Mini EV.
In January this year 25,778 examples of the Hongguang Mini EV were reported as sold in China, compared to 13,843 examples of the Tesla Model 3 in the same month.
The compact, four-seat, three-door hatchback – which is a collaboration between Chinese manufacturer SAIC and US giant General Motors – weighs 665kg. For reference, that’s about half the mass of a Toyota Corolla hatch.
The Chinese vehicle has a 9.2kWh lithium-polymer battery pack allowing for a range of approximately 120km in ideal conditions.
It is powered by an electric motor that drives the rear wheels. With a modest output of 13kW, it has about 15 per cent of the power output of a petrol-powered Toyota Corolla.
Official performance figures are hard to come by, however a top speed of 100km/h is claimed. Local media reviews suggest a 0-50km/h time of 25 seconds, making it slower than a fully loaded truck.
Standard features include anti-lock brakes, rear parking sensors, air conditioning, power windows, a stereo system, and 12 storage compartments.
While the Hongguang Mini EV is currently only available in China, multiple companies – including Latvian-based armoured vehicle manufacturer Dartz – have announced plans to export the electric micro car to Europe.