GM's $4,500 Electric Car For China Is Wonderfully Devoid Of Frills

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Screenshot: Wheelsboy

GM makes and sells a handsome, successful electric vehicle for around $4,500; it just doesn’t sell it here. How does it sell the rather nice-looking GM-Wuling Mini EV for so cheap? In part, because it doesn’t bother with things you don’t need, as a new English-language test drive of the car from Wheelsboy explains.

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Here’s the video in full, which gives a nice look at the car in full, as well as an explanation as to why there is a Doraemon sticker on the side of it:

Again, it’s a charming-looking car, which the reviewer sagely notes looks like a pug. Not wrong! Even the interior is full of tasteful design:

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Screenshot: Wheelsboy
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What the interior is not full of is features that you don’t need. There is no big screen next to the gauges, for instance, because the gauges are just a single screen and you don’t need another one.

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Screenshot: Wheelsboy

There’s a little radio readout with as much resolution as an ’80s tape deck because, well, that’s all you really need.

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Screenshot: Wheelsboy
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But you do get a USB connection there because it’s still a modern car and it does have what you really need. It just doesn’t have all the stuff that car companies think you want, like, uh, any kind of center console. Frivolous.

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Screenshot: Wheelsboy
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The quality of the hard plastics in the car is “somewhere between an economy car and a public bathroom,” because, well, I don’t know how high-quality your interior plastics need to be. It’s not like the stuff in your neighbor’s BMW are that nice to scratch at anyway, certainly for all the stuff down at the bottom of your doors where you stick your water bottle or whatever.

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Screenshot: Wheelsboy
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The Wuling Mini EV is clearly not a car for everyone. It’s very, very small, with tiny back seats and an even tinier cargo area behind what’s basically half of a hatchback. It has no fast charging capability, and even the longest-range spec doesn’t get much more than 100 miles (170km) to a charge. The Mini EV makes 17.5 horsepower, and it’s been a long time since a popular car in the States marketed its figures to the half-HP. But it’s a nice reminder that cars could be a lot cheaper if car companies were bold enough to give us less.

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.

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DISCUSSION

briangriffinsprius
BrianGriffin thinks “reliable” is just a state of mind

I still contest that they would sell the snot of of something like this in the US if it could be federalized (it probably can’t, blah blah blah safety).

The reason small, cheap cars don’t sell in large numbers is that they’re not cheap enough, full stop. If you’re gonna drop $14k on a Fiesta, might as well take a loan and drop $20k on a (ugh) Ecosport, or whatever.

Selling a new car for a month’s wages in the US would be a game changer.