Tesla is known for its best selling electric vehicles in the world, including the Model 3. However, in China, the Model 3 is being outsold by a rival called the Hong Guang Mini EV by almost two-to-one. One of the major reasons behind the higher sales of Hong Guang Mini EV is its cost. The vehicle is priced at only USD 4,500 or USD 5,000 with air conditioning and is proving a big hit for state-owned SAIC Motor, which is China's top automaker. The Hong Guang Mini EV is being built as part of a joint venture partnership of SAIC-GM-Wuling and is known as Wuling locally.
Marketed as 'the people's commuting tool', the sales of the budget electric car in China were around double of those of Tesla in the previous month. Tesla had decreased the price of the Model 3 in China by 8 percent in October 2020 to around USD 36,805, however, the cost is still over eight-times more expensive than the Hong Guang Mini EV.
According to a report by BBC, the Mini EV is popular in China not only because of its low price but also because of the incentives the Chinese government offers. The government is offering a free license plate with every electric vehicle purchased and it is guaranteed.
Having launched last year, Mini EV uses a 9.2kWh battery offering a range of just 75 miles (120km) and relies on a single electric motor capable of 17.4 horsepower and a top speed of 62mph (100km/h) and four people can easily be seated in the vehicle.
The Hong Guang Mini EV was the second best-selling electric vehicle in the world last year with 1,12,000 sales in the second half of 2020 ahead of the Renault Zoe and Tesla Model Y. Compared to Tesla's Model 3 which sold 13,843 in January 2021 in China, the tiny, all-electric EV sold 25,778 models, according to the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA).
However, earlier in the month of February, five Chinese regulators summoned Tesla over quality and safety issues at its plant. It is to be noted that after the US, China is Tesla's largest market.