It’s hard to make a fair electric-vehicle comparison of products when one sells for $36,000 and the other for less than $5,000, but when “Tesla” and “China” are the buzzwords, it’s always interesting.
The Tesla Model 3 sedan, the king of EV in 2020 when it doubled its sales in China to nearly $6.7 billion, saw its dominance threatened by a significantly lower-priced rival.
Introducing the Wuling HongGuang Mini EV, a hatchback fit for four people. It has two doors and a serious streak of successful sales.
In January, according to a CNBC story, China’s cut-rate EV entry came close to doubling the sales of Tesla’s Model 3 in global sales, moving more than 36,700 compared with 21,500 Model 3 sales in the same month, according to electric vehicle sales tracker EV Volumes (which has not yet released global sales estimates for February).
Wuling’s HongGuang Mini EV is sold only in China, but the company reportedly hopes to expand overseas. The vehicle debuted last July.
The mini EV is only 115 inches in length – 70 inches fewer than Tesla’s Model 3 – and more than a foot narrower.
What else do you not get for your $21,000 in savings?
- No trunk space (the Tesla Model 3 has 15 cubic feet of cargo space).
- A very serious lack of miles per battery charge (this battery carries 105.6 miles on a single charge compared with 350-plus for Tesla’s Model 3).
- Speed. The HongGuang Mini EV can roll along at a max speed of just more than 62 MPH, while the Model 3 has a top speed of 162 MPH.
It turns out, bargain hunters can win if they are OK with the prize.