With a bargain-basement MSRP of around $4,100 USD, the Wuling Hong Guang MINI EV is one of the most affordable production cars in China. Believe it or not, though, it’s not the cheapest way to get behind the wheel of an EV in the country.
In China, low-speed electric vehicles are fairly popular and often sell for just a couple of thousand dollars or sometimes even less. These vehicles come with obvious drawbacks, though. For starters, they typically can only travel at speeds of up to 40 km/h (25 mph) and often have very limited range. There’s also the issue of safety – a topic that was recently explored by a popular Chinese automotive YouTube channel.
The channel decided to crash test a Hong Guang MINI EV with one of these ultra-cheap EVs to demonstrate the difference between a well-engineered production car like the MINI EV and a low-speed car like those made by Changli. The crash test, which involved having the two vehicles hit each other head-on at a slightly offset angle at speeds of 50 km/h, went about as one would expect, with the MINI EV retaining most of its structural integrity and the Changli crumpling into a mangled mess of metal and wiring.
The Hong Guang MINI EV impressed us in this test. Despite its ultra-cheap starting price, it stayed relatively rigid and successfully protected its passenger – although we’re willing to bet the outcome would have been much different if it was crash tested this way with a regular car and not a flimsy low-speed vehicle. Still, the MINI EV is an impressive product considering its affordability – especially when one takes into account its decent top speed of 62 mph and range of 105 miles. The market has clearly responded to the vehicle, as well, with the nameplate racking up more than 400,000 orders since its introduction in July of last year – making it the world’s best-selling EV period.
Check out the crash test embedded below.