Baojun E100: GM's tiny $7k electric city car
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As Tesla prepares to launch its 'affordable' Model 3 at US$35,000, General Motors just unveiled a tiny electric car that costs only US$5,000.
The new vehicle, called the Baojun E100, can travel about 160km on a single charge and is being touted as a perfect car for commuters.
The only catch is that the car will only be available in China; however, there is always the possibility for expansion or introduction of a similar vehicle into other markets.
With a wheelbase of only 1.6m and a height of only 1.67m, the Baojun E100 is truly tiny. Also sporting only a 12.14 turning radius, the two-seater makes other 'tiny' cars seem spacious.
The vehicle has a single motor with 100Nm of torque and 29kW, making it not overly powerful.
But even though it's not meant for intense driving and is being targeted to city commuters, the car will reach low highway speeds of around 100kph.
The lithium-ion battery can charge fully in 7.5 hours and is also capable of capturing energy through a regenerative braking system.
Pre-sales for the Baojun E100 began on July 10, and already more than, 5,000 people have registered for the first 200 cars.
Another 500 vehicle will be available starting tomorrow, with sales initially limited to Guangxi.
The Baojun E100 cost US$5,300 (NZD$7,300) after local and national subsidies.
The car was developed in conjunction with state-owned SAIC, one of the largest manufacturers in China, which GM has been working with since 2001.
Together, the two firms have been selling cars (including 1.5 million last year alone) under the Wuling and Baojun brand names, creating a pairing known as SGMW.
While Tesla is touting the upcoming Model 3 as a more affordable alternative to its other vehicles, GM is proving Tesla is still luxury and there are other truly affordable electric cars out there.
The Model 3 boasts more power with the ability to go from zero to 100kph in less than six seconds and cruise for at least 320km on a single charge.
It has five seats, a spacious 424 litres of interior space and a futuristic dash void of all dials and meters, however these perks come with a price tag of US$35,000.
So while Tesla is right in that the upcoming car is comparatively an affordable addition to its product line, the fact that other firms are making EVs at such a lower price could indicate a flaw in the thinking that the Model 3 will be the car to bring these vehicles to the masses.
Last January, General Motors unveiled the production version of its Chevrolet Bolt electric car.
The aim of the Bolt was to appeal to consumers looking at a more affordable price tag than the luxury, market-leading Tesla.
'It's more than a car, it's a platform that can be upgraded,' said GM chairman and chief executive Mary Barra, speaking at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Chevrolet Bolt concept. Photo / GM
'Who are our customers? Anyone who wants to save time, money and the environment in a car that is truly fun to drive.'
The Bolt is designed to travel more than 200 miles between charges.
It also features some of the connected technology found on rival vehicles including a Wi-Fi hotspot offering access to apps and services.
The price tag is around the that of the upcoming Tesla model 3.
'The Bolt EV is truly the first EV that cracks the code of long range and affordable price,' Barra said.
The new GM car is compatible with various connected platforms such as Apple CarPlay and Google's Android Auto.
GM chairman and chief executive Mary Barra talks infront of a self-driving Chevrolet Bolt concept. Photo / AP
Bolt also features its own dedicated smartphone app, which manages vehicle information and functions, such as charge status, maintenance and navigation.
The app includes a 'gamification' feature that allows owners to 'compete' by comparing driving styles to determine who is driving most efficiently.
The Bolt also includes a rear camera connected to the interior rear-view mirror, enabling drivers to see behind them even if their view is blocked by passengers.
Barra said the Bolt is the next step for GM toward more autonomous vehicles, and possibly new ownership models such as car sharing, two concepts other auto manufacturers are also eyeing.
'Down the road, the connectivity... will one day help us offer other technologies and transportation solutions that customers will demand,' she said.
'Everything from car-sharing apps to ownership models and automated driving, and one day self-driving cars.'