Automotive

GM launches tiny $5K EV in China

GM launches tiny $5K EV in Chi...
The E100 costs ¥35,800 (US$5,300) after government and local EV subsidies are taken into consideration
The E100 costs ¥35,800 (US$5,300) after government and local EV subsidies are taken into consideration
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The E100 costs ¥35,800 (US$5,300) after government and local EV subsidies are taken into consideration
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The E100 costs ¥35,800 (US$5,300) after government and local EV subsidies are taken into consideration
Behind the wheel of the Baojun E100 
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Behind the wheel of the Baojun E100 
The cabin of the E100 is pared back, but looks practical 
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The cabin of the E100 is pared back, but looks practical 
There's an electric parking brake in the Baojun E100
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There's an electric parking brake in the Baojun E100
Charging takes 7.5 hours with the E100
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Charging takes 7.5 hours with the E100
The E100 is smaller than a Smart ForTwo 
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The E100 is smaller than a Smart ForTwo 
With a top speed of 100 km/h, the E100 can mix it on the highway
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With a top speed of 100 km/h, the E100 can mix it on the highway
The B100 has a seven-inch central touchscreen 
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The B100 has a seven-inch central touchscreen 

Much noise has been made about the "affordable" Tesla Model 3, but it looks seriously pricey compared to the latest electric car from GM. Dubbed the Baojun E100, it has about 100 miles of range and costs less than the average motorbike when government subsidies are taken into account. The caveat? It's only available in China.

That's right, the E100 won't be showing up in Chevrolet or Buick dealerships anytime soon. It was been developed in conjunction with state-owned SAIC, one of the largest manufacturers in China. GM has been working with SAIC since 2001, selling cars under the Wuling and Baojun brand names. The pairing, known colloquially as SGMW, sold more than 1.5 million cars last year.

Aimed at city dwellers, the E100 is absolutely tiny. It has a 1,600 mm (5.25 ft) wheelbase and is just 1,670 mm (5.48 ft) tall, with a 3.7 meter (12.14 ft) turning radius. Those figures make the SmartForTwo look like a Land Rover Defender, so they should make the car perfect for swinging into small spaces in downtown Shanghai.

The B100 has a seven-inch central touchscreen 
The B100 has a seven-inch central touchscreen 

Power comes from a single motor making 100 Nm of torque and 29 kW (39 hp), with about 155 km (96 mi) of range on a single charge. There isn't any mention of fast charging, but the regular wall plug will charge the lithium-ion pack in 7.5 hours. Regenerative braking also helps feed energy back into the battery on the move.

Even though it's not overly powerful, Baojun says the car will still hit 100 km/h (62 mph) on the highway. After all, even people who live in the city need to get away occasionally. Whether you would actually want to mix it with semi-trailers and big family four-wheel drives that dominate the highways in your tiny EV is another question.

Inside, the two-seat E100 has a 7-inch touchscreen with wireless connectivity. The options list isn't particularly long, but buyers of the upscale Zhixiang model benefit from keyless entry and a better air filter for the climate control. Given how poor air quality has become in some Chinese cities, the more expensive model might be worth a look. Much like the Model 3, the E100 has its air vents integrated into the dashboard, and there are no conventional instruments in front of the driver.

The E100 is smaller than a Smart ForTwo 
The E100 is smaller than a Smart ForTwo 

Having sold its initial run of 200 cars, GM-SAIC-Wuling has started sales on another 500 cars to customers in Guangxi. The car costs ¥35,800 (US$5,300) after government and local EV subsidies are taken into consideration.

Source: General Motors

16 comments
WilliamSager
Must be a lot of subsidies. In America it cost almost $8,000 just to produce a golf cart.
michael_dowling
Something tells me it wouldn't pass safety requirements for sale in the States.
watersworm
Knowing poor air quality and traffic congestion in Beijing or Shangai it seems a good (sufficient) product. Except chinese people seem to prefer much bigger cars. On the other hand many chinese people are expecting the right to buy cars...
MikeKokomo
Undoubtedly this car will never make it to America without safety upgrades and probably more accessories to fit our need for comfort. Article didn't say ( or I missed it) about whether anyone over 5'6" would be able to get into the car.
Rustin Lee Haase
There's a market for cars like this in the US, but that market is already saturated with $8000 3 year old Nissan LEAFs that are a much better car with the same range. No point in trying to sell them in the US. China, probably. Its great to have these little, low cost EVs. They make great commuters and for errands.
Penguin
This is what they need here, now.
apprenticeearthwiz
I'm reminded of when Japanese cars first reached the west. Funny little toy cars that would never amount to anything.
Rkt9
For the millions who ride around in South Asia in a smoke belching motor bike with a covered side car attached this would be a welcomed upgrade! Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Mekong Delta, India etc.
Grunchy
I want a $5,300 little EV made by GM! I have a little room left on the driveway for exactly this little thing. Don't make me buy a smart car.
Tom Lee Mullins
It seems very similar to the Smart ED but at a much lower cost. The size is similar to the ED but the Smart is safer and can be driven in the US(?).