The Wuling Mini EV, launched in China in July 2020, is the best selling ‘new energy vehicle’ in China, as per a press release dated 9 April 2021 from GM, which is one of the joint venture partners responsible for the Mini EV (GM-SAIC-Wuling). In March 2021, 39,745 units of the Mini EV found buyers, and over 80,000 units have been sold in Q1 2021 alone, far ahead of the likes of the Tesla Model 3.
The success, according to GM, comes due to the young audience base of the Mini EV preferring its urban-friendly dimensions and youthful appearance. Wuling is introducing new variants of the Mini EV, a convertible style and a ‘Macaron’ hardtop with updated color palettes, to keep sales going.
Word of the Mini EV is even spreading to the west, where Lithuanian armored 4×4 maker Dartz is teaming up with coachbuilder Nikrob to build and sell the small EV at an attractive 9999 EUR (USD 11,973), making it the most affordable EV in the EU as it undercuts the Dacia Spring (the incumbent title holder) by 2,500 EUR. Dartz will import the parts from China, but the EV will be assembled in Lithuania.
2021 Wuling Mini EV Convertible
The Mini EV Convertible will debut at the Auto Shanghai 2021, which opens its doors on April 19, 2021. According to Chinese media, the images released by Wuling are not of a concept, but the production version.
Key changes to the Mini EV convertible include an electric soft top mechanism, dual 10-inch screens on the interior, a white, dual-spoke steering wheel, and the rear seat’s deletion to accommodate the soft top. The Mini EV convertible is unlikely to see a change in its mechanical setup, but details have not been announced yet.
2021 Wuling Mini EV Macaron
Coming to the new Macaron variant of the Mini EV, three new colors are available for the exterior – Avocado Green, Lemon Yellow, White Peach Pink, and a solid color contrasting roof. The Mini EV Macaron also sees new features, including a driver airbag, ABS, EBD, low-speed pedestrian monitoring, tire pressure monitoring system, rear parking camera, and rear parking sensors.
The electric powertrain is carried over from the 2020 model, the specifications of which are below. The Mini EV Macaron is priced from the equivalent of 5,740 USD (4,793 EUR) to 6,655 USD (5,557 EUR) in the Chinese market.
2020 Wuling MINI EV
The Mini is the first fully electric model from Wuling, and the micro EV was launched with a 170 km travel range. It is built by the joint venture between SAIC Motor, General Motors, and Liuzhou Wuling Motors. The compact two-door four-seater with a short wheelbase is perfect for narrow roads and tight parking spaces. The design has been inspired by Japan’s Kei cars, but being an EV, the inside is spacious despite its compact dimensions thanks to a cab-forward design and the higher volume due to the flat roof.
The rear seat folds flat if not used, and the company claims that with the seat folded down, there is space for two large suitcases behind the driver. A 20 kW motor drives the car, which is offered with two battery capacities – 13.82 kWh and 9.2 kWh. The 13.82 kWh battery offers a range of 170 km (NEDC) and has an energy density of 110 Wh per kg, while the 9.2 kWh offers a range of 120 km (NEDC) and has a 100Wh per kg density.
The battery, covered by the manufacturer for 8 years/120,000 km, comes with preheating and insulation function, which allows it to be charged safely and efficiently at low temperatures. The battery pack is pre-started to warm up and maintain the temperature at 20-25° C to achieve low-temperature charging efficiency.
The Mini EV’s battery has passed 16 safety tests such as overcharge, over-discharge, overtemperature, short circuit, fire, seawater immersion, simulated collision, etc. Under the extreme cold and high temperatures of -25 to 45 ° C, the vehicle has completed 28 tests over 300,000 kilometers. The battery is IP68-rated for dust and water resistance. The vehicle comes with an intelligent battery management system that can monitor the battery status in real-time. It can be charged using a 220V three-pin plug at a household and is equipped with a high-efficiency charging gun with easy storage.
Wuling Mini EV specifications
|Maximum power (kW)||20|
|Battery capacity (kWh)||13.8 & 9.2|
|NEDC Range (km)||170 (13.8 kWh) & 120 (9.2 kWh)|
|Boot space (l) with rear seat folded||741|
In August 2020, SAIC’s Wuling said in a post on its Weibo account that it received more than 50,000 orders for and sold 15,000 units of the Hongguang MINI EV in China 20 days since the vehicle’s launch. Before the launch, nearly 30,000 people had reserved the Wuling Mini EV in China, as per reports in local news outlets, so interest in this car was high even before its introduction.