The New Mini EV Cabrio Is a Rare Convertible Electric Car, And Possibly the Cutest EV

GM's joint venture in China is bringing the affordable Mini EV Cabrio to market later this year.

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Image for article titled The New Mini EV Cabrio Is a Rare Convertible Electric Car, And Possibly the Cutest EV
Image: GM-SAIC-Wuling

The best-selling EV in the world is going with the top down, after all. General Motor’s joint venture in China, SAIC-GM-Wuling, says the Mini EV Cabrio is going on to production, as Automotive News reports. It’s a small production run between 100 and 200 Mini EVs for now, but given how popular the Mini EV is, the cabrio model could end up being a mainstay of Wuling’s EV lineup.

The Wuling Hongguang Mini EV is so popular it became the best-selling EV in China last year, with over 426,000 models sold. To put that number into perspective, Auto News says Tesla sold a total of 321,000 EVs in China last year.

The Mini EV has charmed buyers abroad with its size, design, and practicality. The standard model seats four, though it may be a tight squeeze. Mini EV models can be optioned with either 9.3 kWh or 13.8kWh battery packs, which are good for 75 and 106 miles, respectively.

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Image for article titled The New Mini EV Cabrio Is a Rare Convertible Electric Car, And Possibly the Cutest EV
Image: GM-SAIC-Wuling

As Wired notes, the larger battery pack takes nine hours to fully charge from empty while the smaller battery takes slightly less, 6.5 hours. It takes so long to charge because there’s no fast-charging capability onboard, but the upside is the Mini EV can be charged using a standard 220V power source. Charging is slow, but it’s easy.

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Above all else, the Mini EV is affordable with models starting at ¥32,800, or about $4,760 at current exchange rates between Chinese Yuan and U.S. Dollars. So for less than five grand, Chinese drivers can buy an EV that gets pretty good range and can be easily — albeit, slowly — charged.

The Mini EV has spawned competitors from other brands, but SAIC-GM-Wuling have kept up by releasing slightly different models — basically, special editions — like the Mini EV Macaron and Mini EV Gameboy. Just don’t tell Nintendo, because the company is, uh, litigious.

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Image for article titled The New Mini EV Cabrio Is a Rare Convertible Electric Car, And Possibly the Cutest EV
Image: GM-SAIC-Wuling

These special editions are a response to Chinese buyers customizing their Mini EVs, according to Zhang Yiqin, who heads branding and marketing at Wuling Motors. And the new Mini EV Cabrio is just the latest in that line of Mini EVs that make the little electric car stand out among many similar models in China.

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Standing out in the convertible Mini EV won’t come cheap, though. The two-seater Cabrio is expected to cost between ¥100,000 and ¥200,000, or about $14,500 and $29,000 at current exchange rates. That’s an awful lot more than the standard model. But if buyers want to pony up to go with the top down in a Mini EV, they’ll have a chance in late September by entering a lottery drawing for the first production run. If demand is strong enough, SAIC-GM-Wuling says it will ramp up production of the Mini EV Cabrio.

Image for article titled The New Mini EV Cabrio Is a Rare Convertible Electric Car, And Possibly the Cutest EV
Image: GM-SAIC-Wuling
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Image for article titled The New Mini EV Cabrio Is a Rare Convertible Electric Car, And Possibly the Cutest EV
Image: GM-SAIC-Wuling