Tesla’s “Model 3” sedan was the world’s best-selling electric car in 2020. But a smaller Chinese rival is rapidly gaining ground and becoming the world’s best-selling electric (EV) car.
The car in question is the Mini EV, manufactured by China’s Saic-GM-Wuling. It is a tiny two-door hatchback that seats only four people…and it has overtaken the Teslas Model 3 in global sales in the month of January 2021.
The Wuling Mini EV sold more than 36,700 of the popular electric cars in January, compared to just over 21,500 Model 3 sales in the same month, according to this EV electric vehicle sales volume tracker.
Saic-GM-Wuling’s Mini EV is currently sold only in China, but the company hopes to eventually expand sales overseas. Wuling has not yet announced which countries would be the next to have the Mini EV available for purchase, although some of China’s electric automakers are looking to expand in the European market, as it is a market more accustomed to small cars, as opposed to the American one, where they give preference to large cars, SUVs, pickups.
The car debuted in China in July 2020 and is manufactured in a joint venture between Wuling, Chinese state-owned automaker SAIC Motor, and General Motors.
One reason for the HongGuang Mini EV’s popularity among Chinese consumers is the car’s extremely low price. The price of the car starts at $4,500.00.
Wuling’s electric trunk accommodates only four passengers and offers no trunk space, although the rear seats can be folded down to create storage space.
The Mini EV from Saic-GM-Wuling is aimed at city drivers who do not need to drive long distances and want a small car that is easy to park. Furthermore, it can be highly customized to the customer’s preferences. The customization includes exterior colors, interior, and even designs for the car, such as Pokémon for example.
The car’s battery allows drivers to travel up to 105.6 miles (about 170 km) on a single charge, while reaching a top speed of just over 62 MPH (about 100 km/h).
To give you an idea of comparison, the soon-to-be-released Lucid Air EV sedan and Tesla’s upcoming Model S “Plaid” version have ranges of more than 500 miles (over 800 km) on a single battery charge.
Why is supremacy in electric car production and sales important?
The future of the automobile industry is electric. The success of Tesla, climate change, and the quest for energy independence (China is a major oil importer) are leading the world to gradually replace the fleet of ICEs (internal combustion engine vehicles) with EVs (electric vehicles).
Thus, the country that leads the way in the development and production of electric cars will have a great competitive advantage in what will be one of the largest markets in the world. And this war is being waged today mainly by the United States with Tesla and China, with its many domestic companies producing electric vehicles.
And since EV production technology can be extrapolated to longer lasting battery technology, this will facilitate the transition to clean energy production and storage, and decrease dependence on fossil fuel (oil, gas, and coal) imports and their fluctuating prices.
For example, in China today there is an obligation for automobile companies to have a certain percentage of their sales made up of electric cars. The Chinese goal is that by 2030, 40% of the fleet will be electric. For this, there are government subsidies to encourage the public to buy electric cars, just as in Norway, the country with the highest penetration of electric cars in the world.
Today, 9% of all cars sold in China are electric. Meanwhile, in Brazil, only 0.2% of the cars sold in 2020 were electric.