China’s budget electric vehicle (EV) is outselling Tesla’s upmarket cars.
The compact car is being built and sold by state-owned SAIC Motors, China’s top automaker.
The Hong Guang Mini EV is being built as part of a joint venture with US car giant General Motors (GM).
The sales of Hong Guang Mini EV in China, last month, were around double those of Tesla, which was questioned this month over safety issues there.
The Mini EV is being sold for $4500 (£3200) in China.
While this model is very popular, another upgraded model with air conditioning is being sold only for $5000. The cars are being marketed as “the people’s commuting tool”.
Making the analysis of the vehicle, car experts say while it clearly lags well behind Tesla when it comes to its battery, range and performance, its convenience and low price have made it one of China’s bestselling “new-energy” vehicles.
Having launched last year, the basic model has a top speed of 100km/h (62mph) and can accommodate four people at a squeeze.
Shaun Rein, managing director of the China Market Research Group, told the BBC,
“China’s government is serious about pollution reduction and becoming the global lead in adopting and promoting innovation of electric vehicles.”
“We remain very bullish on the adoption of budget EVs like the Hong Guang Mini to higher-end ones like NIO and Tesla,” Rein added.
To promote EVs, the Chinese government offers license plates for free and they are guaranteed. In many cities, it can take months, if not years, to get a license plate for a petrol engine through various auction systems.