With MG announcing the E23, the mighty mini electric car could be the future of sustainable driving in urban areas

In China, the Wuling Hong Guang MINI EV was the best selling electric car in 2021. In the process, the MINI EV, which is funded by General Motors (GM), sold over 500,000 units during the year.

Wuling Motors also set a new record for sales for a new energy car model in China, with sales reaching 55,729 in December 2021. During its record selling year, the MINI EV outsold many big names, including Tesla, which are the world’s largest electric car maker. That’s huge.

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Recently, MG, who have seen record sales of electric cars over the last year, announced its new E230 electric vehicle (EV) would be produced and initially sold in India. This mini EV will be in good company being produced on the SAIC-GM-Wuling Global Small Electric Vehicle (GSEV) platform.

Last year, Nissan announced its plan to start sales of a new, all-electric mini vehicle in Japan in early 2022. This will be one of the kei style mini cars that are found in many of Japan’s busy cities.

It will be part of a joint project with Mitsubishi Motors Corporation and is being planned and developed by NMKV, which is the name for the joint venture between the two companies.  

Last year Citroën announced that its AMI electric vehicle (EV) had been the green light for UK sales this year. Having driven the AMI, we think it is not only fun and great to drive but offers a modern solution that delivers an affordable and clean mobility solution for all.

While all of this might not sound as sexy as the latest Tesla or electric hypercar, these small affordable vehicles could be the future of urban driving. Not only are they small and easy to manoeuvre and park, but these zero emissions vehicles are more affordable than anything else available.

We hope that these vehicles that have been available in the East make their way to Europe and America soon. They will change the way we drive in urban environments, help hugely with sustainability and best of all they’re affordable to a mass audience which changes everything.

Here are some of the best mighty mini electric cars out there right now:

Citroen Ami

Citroën gave their AMI electric vehicle (EV) the green light for UK sales in 2022. While it takes us back to our youth, the James Bondesque Ami is far from retro. Instead, it’s forward-thinking, functional, sustainable and affordable with an expected £6,000 price tag.

It’s the perfect around town car and the 5.5kWh battery offers a range of 46 miles (74km) with a top speed of 28mph (45kph). The battery can be recharged in just three hours. The range might sound small but ideal for those who only do short journeys.

The Ami measures 2.5m long, 1.5m wide and 1.5m tall and weighs just 471 kilogrammes. It also feels bigger inside than you might think. It has an incredibly tight turning circle making the AMI agile and is a good solution for navigating busy streets and fitting into narrow parking spaces. At this price, the Ami could be a game changer for urban driving.

Chery eQ1

Chery Automobile Company’s neat micro eQ1, which has been nicknamed the little ant, is an electric car that’s offered in two and four-seat versions. Both have the same body size which is 3200mm long, 1670mm wide and 1550mm high with a wheelbase of 2150mm.

It’s ideal for town and short journey use and being so small makes it easy to manoeuvre and convenient to park. The Chery eQ1 features a 30.6 kWh battery that offers a range of around 112 miles (180km).

A full charge takes between five and seven hours when using a 6.6 kW charger, while fast charging up to 80 percent capacity takes between 30 and 50 minutes. Prices range from £8,486 ($11,602/€9,533).

Great Wall ORA Black Cat (R1)

Great Wall’s Black Cat, which is sold under the brand’s ORA tag, sold 9,463 units during November and sold 36,764 units during 2020. This was the third best selling electric car in China during November behind the Tesla Model 3.

Great Wall created its Black Cat based on its dinky sized R1 that looks similar to a SmartCar. The brand decided to form a cat-pack with various models including the White Cat, which is an urban cruiser, and the Good Cat, which is a chunky mid-size hatchback.

The five-door Black Cat (R1) offers 48 horsepower delivering a top speed of 63mph (102kph) with a range of up to 187 miles (301km). Prices range from £6,377 ($8,680/€7,072) to £8,296 ($11,293/€9,202) depending on battery size which includes 28.5 kWh, 33 kWh and 37 kWh versions.

MG E230

British motoring brand Morris Garages is developing this new mini electric vehicle that is believed to go on sale around the globe after its launch in India. It’s a neat two-door mini that, as mentioned earlier, will be based on the SAIC-GM-Wuling Global Small Electric Vehicle (GSEV) platform.

Despite being based on the platform, the two-seater E230 is rumoured to have a longer wheelbase. Details are present are still being kept under wraps so much of what we know is based on leaks and rumours.

It’s believed that it will come with a lightweight 20kWh battery and offer around 93 miles (150km) of range. No official prices have been announced but it’s expected to cost around £10,000 ($13,000/€12,000).

SAIC Baojun E-Series

SAIC Motors Baojun E Series cars, which are a joint venture with General Motors and Wuling, offer a range of micro electric vehicles including the E100, E200, E300 and E300 Plus.

They offer a little more luxury than Wuling Mini EV and remain good value for money. The E-Series of cars look similar to a SmartCar and are ideal for around-town use. The E100 features a 29 kWh battery that offers a range of 155 miles (250km) with a top speed of 62mph (100 kph).

Prices start from £5,575 ($7,622/€6,262). SAIC offer two versions of the E200 which feature a 29 kWh battery. This provides a top speed of 62mph (100kph) with a range between 130-168 miles (210-270km) with prices starting at £6,135 ($7,697/€6,892).

The range-topping E300 and E300 Plus both feature a 39 kWh battery and offer ranges of between 162 miles (260km) and 190 miles (305km) respectively. Prices start at £7,255 ($9,919/€8,149) for the E300 and £9,495 ($12,980/€10,665) for the E300 Plus.

Wuling Hong Guang Mini EV

Since its launch in  Wuling’s Hong Guang Mini EV has become a best seller in China. This massive success is down to the fact it only costs $4,200 (£3,112/€3430) making it one of the cheapest electric cars on the planet.

Wuling, who are backed by General Motors, don’t just offer an affordable electric car but a practical one. It can seat four and features either a 9 kWh or 13 kWh battery pack with a range of up to 106 miles (170km).

For most, especially who use their car around town this is more than adequate for short journeys whether it’s commuting, the school run or shopping. The Wuling Hong Guang Mini EV is already becoming a game-changer in China and could be for the rest of the world too. The company also announced they will producing a convertible version soon.

Ian Osborne
Ian Osborne
Editor-in-Chief at ElectricDrives

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