Sure, Tesla’s Model 3 costs $35,000. And Lightyear is making a solar-powered electric car. The list of advances in electric cars grows exponentially every day. But none of them have what General Motors (GM) just released in China — the Baojun E100, a $5,300 electric car.
Baojun E100 Release
Together with SAIC Motor and Liuzhou Wuling Motors, GM recently released the Baojun E100. This is the first fully-electric car for the joint venture commonly referred to as SAIC-GM-Wuling.
On July 10th, The venture began taking limited pre-orders for the car in Liuzhou, Guangxi. About 5,000 people registered for the opportunity to buy one of the first 200 vehicles.
As you could have guessed from the title of this article, the price probably has a lot to do with the hype. After Chinese national and regional green-car subsidies, the Baojun E100 mini car costs about 35,500 yuan ($5300) or 48,700 yuan ($7250), depending on which of the two variant models you choose.
That’s less than the price of a Tesla Powerwall 2. But don’t go running to your local GM dealership just yet. The E100 appears to only be slated for release in China as of now.
Baojun E100 Tech Specs
A single 39-horsepower motor powers the tiny E100. It can propel the vehicle to a top speed of 100 kilometers (62 miles) per hour. The car can travel up to 155 km (96 mi) on a single charge. It takes about 7.5 hours to fully charge the lithium-ion battery pack. Although you’d probably never need to fully charge it; the vehicle utilizes a regenerative braking system to capture energy.
SAIC-GM-Wuling’s debut EV also comes with an independent front-wheel suspension and a single-arm rear suspension. Its wheelbase measures in at 1.6 meters (5.25 ft.) and the car’s height is 1.67 meters (5.67 ft.) Basically, two adults could occupy it comfortably. Because of its modest price and size, the E100 is very appealing to the young and hip population of Chinese urban and metropolitan areas.
Because of its modest price and size, the E100 is very appealing to the young and hip population of Chinese urban and metropolitan areas. It also does not hurt that it has a turning radius of 3.7 meters, giving it great maneuverability in tight spaces.
But just because the E100 is small does not mean it is unsafe. Taking full advantage of its power source, it has an electronic parking brake, parking sensors, electric power steering, and anti-lock brakes that utilize electronic brakeforce distribution. It also has a pedestrian alert system and ISOFIX locks for child safety seats.
Besides safety features, the tiny car also manages to pack in a Wi-Fi hotspot, 7-inch screen, touch pad, and air filtration vents. It also comes in some very vibrant colors. The premium Zhixiang variant also comes with keyless entry.
The Green Team
SAIC-GM-Wuling is based in Liuzhou, a city located in north-central Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of southwestern China. The venture exclusively makes commercial and consumer vehicles for sale in China under either the Baojun or Wuling marques.
SAIC-GM-Wuling sold 1,286,000 vehicles in 2011. In 2012, they sold 1,445,000. Their goal is to sell 2 million cars each year. The price range of their vehicles is currently $5,000 to $10,000. General Motors has a 44% stake in the venture.
In business since 1908, GM has had 10 joint ventures and employs more than 58,000 people in China. 2016 was a very successful year for the automaker. They managed to deliver more than 3.8 million vehicles in China alone.
While that number no doubt made GM very happy, it is even better news for the electric car movement. China is one of the fastest adapters of electric vehicles in the world. As more major automakers like GM, BMW, and Audi embrace electric vehicles, the momentum of this global movement will only be made stronger.