Surprisingly, there's room for four people in this tiny city car.
For years, Elon Musk has promised Tesla will launch a small electric car that costs less than $25,000 to slot below the Model 3 and Model Y. This will be much cheaper than the most affordable Model 3, the Standard Range Plus model, which starts at $37,990.
Development of Tesla's long-promised affordable city cars seems to be gathering pace, as Tesla China President Tom Zhu recently confirmed it will be built in China and sold as a global model, with testing due to start later this year. While this will help make electric cars more appealing to a mass audience, China has already launched an electric car that costs less than $5,000. Built by SAIC-GM, a joint venture between General Motors and China's SAIC Motor, it's called the Wuling Hong Guang Mini EV, and with a price tag of just 28,800 yuan ($4,460) it's one of the cheapest EVs in the world.
A more popular model equipped with air conditioning will set you back just over $5,000. While the Hong Guang Mini EV offers significantly less range and performance than any Tesla, its convenience and low price have made it one of China's bestselling "new-energy vehicles." This category includes battery-electric cars and plug-in hybrids.
Billed as "the people's commuting tool," the entry-level Wuling Hong Guang Mini EV can travel up to 74 miles on a single charge and has a paltry top speed of just 62 mph, making it ideal for city driving and short journeys. It can also be charged from a standard outlet for added convenience. Despite measuring less than 118 inches long and 59 inches wide, up to four occupants can snugly fit inside the boxy EV.
According to Nikkei Asia, 112,000 units of the Hong Guang Mini EV were sold in China between July and the end of 2020, making it the country's second best-selling EV after the Tesla Model 3. However, the Hong Guang Mini EV outsold the Model 3 on a monthly basis in China and is believed to be the second best-selling EV in the world, beaten only by, you guessed it, the Model 3.
At this rate, this new cheap electric city could be on track to outsell the Model 3 in China this year. To boost sales, Wuling is planning to sell the Hong Guang Mini in Europe, but the price will reportedly be twice as high due to environmental requirements.