Since its local launch exactly one year ago, the Wuling Hong Guang MINI EV has been hugely successful in China, to the point of becoming not only the best-selling fully electric vehicle in the Asian country, but also one of the most popular worldwide. Now, the zero-emission minicar has just been introduced in Europe as the all-new FreZe Nikrob.
The FreZe Nikrob EV is actually a Wuling Hong Guang MINI EV rebranded by Lithuanian armored 4×4 manufacturer Dartz, which has partnered with SAIC-GM-Wuling to build and market the electric vehicle in Europe while reviving the oldest car brand in Russia, FreZe. As such, the Nikrob EV was adapted to European Union regulations in order to be sold in the region’s countries.
While keeping the design and powertrain as the Wuling MINI EV, the FreZe Nikrob EV actually includes several changes from the Chinese variant, such as reinforced bodywork, a modified lighting system and the addition of various safety features. Its tiny two-door hatchback body is ideal for Europe as it measures just 114.8 inches long, 58.8 inches wide and 63.8 inches high, riding on a 76.4-inch wheelbase.
Aesthetically, the all-new FreZe Nikrob EV only differs from the original Wuling model by adding logos of the newly revived brand, a new wheel design and body-color fender trim for homologation purposes. The rest of the design is the same, including the interior, with its own color palette distinguishing it from the MINI EV and adapting to the tastes of European customers.
On a mechanical level, the FreZe Nikrob’s propulsion system includes a rear-mounted electric motor that produces 20 kW (27 horsepower) as well as the range-topping Wuling MINI EVs’ 13.8 kWh battery pack. However, Dartz added an alternator for air conditioning and audio, which increases maximum driving range to 124 miles (200 kilometers), or about 18 miles more than in the Chinese-market version of the minicar.
The all-new FreZe Nikrob EV is currently being deployed in Europe, promising to reach the region’s main markets by early 2022. The vehicle is produced in Lithuania as knocked-down kits, using parts imported from China and only a few locally sourced components. The FreZe Nikrob has a starting price of 9,999 Euros in the Lithuanian market, and will soon be available for 8,995 Euros in Spain, or roughly $10,650 USD at the current exchange rate.