The Very Popular Chinese Mini EV
A budget electric car(EV) in China is selling for just US$4500(RM18,650) is now out selling Tesla's more upmarket car.
The compact car is proving a big hit for state-owned SAIC Motor, China’s top automaker.
The Hong Guang Mini EV is being built as part of a joint venture with US car giant General Motors (GM).
Last month sales of the budget electric car in China were around double those of Tesla, which was questioned this month over safety issues there.
While the $4,500 Hong Guang Mini is the most popular model, there is an upgraded one with air conditioning for just over $5,000. The cars are being marketed as “the people’s commuting tool”.
The joint venture partnership, SAIC-GM-Wuling, is known as Wuling locally.
Having launched last year, the basic model has a top speed of 100km/h (62mph) and can accommodate four people at a squeeze.
“China’s government is serious about pollution reduction and becoming the global lead in adopting and promoting innovation of electric vehicles,” Shaun Rein, managing director of the China Market Research Group, told the BBC.
“We remain very bullish on the adoption of budget EVs like the Hong Guang Mini to higher end ones like NIO and Tesla.”
To promote EVs, the Chinese government offers license plates for free and they are guaranteed. In many cities, it can take months, if not years, to get a license plate for a petrol engine through various auction systems.
The tiny, all-electric EV sold 25,778 models in China in January according to the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA). This compares to 13,843 for the Tesla Model 3.
But high-end electric vehicles have still been performing well with Tesla more than doubling its sales volume in China last year.
The Hong Guang Mini EV could make an appearance outside China, as Wuling has said it plans to export the EV overseas.