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Chinese mini electric vehicles amazingly cheap

February 27, 2023 — BarryK

I mentioned in a recent post about "The Electric Viking" videos on YouTube -- an Australian guy who posts about electric vehicles, battery technology, car companies, and anything else related.

He posted about tiny EVs in China selling for under US$6,000, so I hunted around for further information. Lots of promotional material online, but I wanted to see a video that shows them in use; the daily experience. I found this great video; a Canadian guy who visited a factory to see them being made, and he got to drive one:

"Tesla being crushed by China's mini EV"

...absolutely fascinating. Car bays with charging stations, costing one Canadian dollar to drive 100km. That's AU$1.10 and US$0.75.

Here in Australia, we have fragmented charging stations. Tesla stations that other EVs are not allowed to use. Expensive charging -- there was a recent test here, a diesel-engine car and an EV drove 1,400km, and the diesel-engine car cost less for the trip.

Over one million of these little cars have been sold in China, but they are only now starting to appear overseas. One model has just been introduced in Indonesia; the Wuling Air.

A photo of the Geely Panda Mini EV:


In Australia, electric vehicles are over AU$45,000; why so expensive? I did see a report that Tesla is developing a cheaper car, apparently it will be about US$25,000; but that is still expensive compared with a small ICE car.

Here in Australia, we live in a "Nanny State", with very restrictive safety regulations, that keep getting more restrictive. There is an insurance company here, RACWA, that won't insure any vehicle with a safety rating under 4 stars -- yet they will insure motorcycles -- to me that seems hypocritical -- as are the government safety regulations.

I looked around for a crash test of these mini EVs, The Electric Viking has one:

"The EV that will change the world crash tested -- is it SAFE?"

...yipes, no airbags!

Twenty years ago, lack of airbags here in Australia would have been OK. But I reckoned the Chinese would be aware of the need for increased safety to reach international markets. Yes, look at the Panda Mini EV:

"Geely Panda Mini EV"

...driver's side airbag. The electronics looks impressive. 100km/h top speed, OK for city driving. 120km or 200km range, again OK.

Hmm, it might even scrape in to meet the minimum safety legislation in Australia. Don't know about one airbag though.   

Tags: tech