The Light and Shadow of China’s EV Superpower” Price: 100,000 yen! The curious performance of super-cheap EVs | FRIDAY DIGITAL

The Light and Shadow of China’s EV Superpower” Price: 100,000 yen! The curious performance of super-cheap EVs

The "Light and Shadow" of China's EV Superpower Latest Report (2) A new product launched last summer following the blockbuster 450,000 yen EV Could it make it to Japan?

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China has become a major EV powerhouse, accounting for nearly half of the world’s sales. The biggest feature of this is the fierce price competition.

The secret behind the popularity of the 100,000 yen EV sold by Changli is the ease with which it can be purchased on Alibaba, a major online shopping site in China.

Among these, the Hongguang MINI EV, which was announced in June last year, surprised the world. The price was about 450,000 Japanese yen. Considering the fact that the standard grade of Toyota’s C+pod, an ultra-compact EV that went on sale at the end of last year, costs 1.65 million yen, the price is extremely low.

Furthermore, Chinese automaker Changli launched the world’s cheapest EV in July last year. At about 100,000 yen per unit, it is a price breaker. In the spring of this year, it went on sale in the US. It is said to have sold well in the past six months. Automobile journalist Kumiko Kato talks about its performance.

The car is spacious and can accommodate up to four passengers. The maximum speed is 35 km/h and the driving range is about 32 km per charge. The car is also fully equipped, with a heater, radio, and a rearview monitor, so it’s hard to believe it costs 100,000 yen.

How is it possible to sell at such a low price? It seems that there is a thorough cost-cutting effort behind it. A mid-level employee of a major local auto parts manufacturer tells us, “What surprised me was that they raised the grade of the product.

What surprises me is that unless you upgrade your car, it doesn’t even have a rearview mirror. Everything that is even slightly unnecessary has been eliminated, and battery capacity is also minimal. It also lacks collision safety and horsepower, and since it doesn’t have a license plate in China, it can’t be driven on public roads. Even so, I was surprised by the fact that an EV can be built for 100,000 yen with the same equipment as a standard car. Balancing cost control and practicality is the challenge for the future.

Will we ever be able to buy one in Japan? Will we ever be able to buy them in Japan? Mr. Kato of the above mentioned predicts.

Safety standards in Japan are higher than those in China, so it is unlikely that they will become popular as passenger cars. However, it is possible to use them on private property like golf carts. Even so, the price will probably triple or more due to transportation costs and tariffs.

Chinese EVs are evolving day by day, but it seems that it will take some time before they reach Japan.

Domestic sales of “Hongguang” are also very strong. In November last year, it surpassed the sales of Model Y (Tesla) in the world.

From “FRIDAY” November 26, 2021 issue

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