A distinctive scream from the electric motor stays with you when you drive. At this low price, the car does not have too much insulation from street noise. Fortunately you never get a mini EV less than 50 miles per hour so it never becomes too much of a problem.
Surprisingly, the EV has a select button hidden behind the steering wheel that lets you choose between Echo and Sport modes. The rear wheels are powered by an electric motor that delivers 20 kW (27 hp) and 85 Nm of torque. The sport seems to be better between the two modes, which provides not only a little smart acceleration but also more noticeable braking regeneration.
One-pedal driving is not really possible, as the car takes too long to slow down – probably because it weighs only 700 kg (1,543 lb). Uling is flexible in terms of acceleration statistics, but since the car is electric and has instant torque, it is not unnecessarily slow in city traffic.
There’s a choice between the 9.3- and 13.8-kWh battery packs, which are already good for the 75 mile (120 km) and 106 mile (170 km) ranges, respectively, under the liberal NEDC standard. A 220V supply takes 6.5 hours to charge a small battery and a full 9 hours for a 13.8 kWh pack.
Without any fast-charging capabilities, you’re really stuck using the Mini EV as a city car. Given all the other errors detailed here, this is probably not a bad thing. But as a cheap introduction to electric family motoring, the car is infinitely safer and better than a scooter or motorbike.
Although you can’t buy this car outside of China, if we had to rate it on WIRED’s scoring system, we would charitably give it a 5 out of 10 (wired: basement price for an EV. Seats are safer than a scooter). You can get four. Trendy … kind of. Tired: limited to city cars. Uncomfortable. Slight safety equipment. Weird steering. Tough.
In terms of price, the Mini EV originally started at RMB28,800 ($ 4,389), while the 13.8-kWh luxury Macaron version we tested was recently retailed for RMB43,600 (6,645). But the price has risen by about $ 1,000 due to rising battery costs. Surprisingly, the company is reported to be making less than 14 14 per car.
A mini EV for Europe and the United States
The weak profit margin did not stop Uling and his brother Brand Baojun from building more cars in the same vein. Wooling has always built microvans targeting rural farmers and commercial buyers, so creating a mini EV was an amazing move.
Baojun, on the other hand, is a Wuling sub-brand that targets the car market and had micro-EVs compared to its predecessors before, both the E100 and E200, like the Smart. These two can only seat two people, and the E200 is somewhat restored as the Uling Nano with more powerful motors and longer range. Being two-seater, they never sold well, but the E300 (aka Kiway EV) replicates the Mini EV formula in many ways, except that it costs almost twice as much and looks like a piece of robot and has the desired features such as fast charging.