Wuling can parade itself for building China’s best-sold EV, the Hongguang Mini EV, which was joined in December last year by the marginally larger but just as boxy Air EV. As the Chinese carmaker wants to cement its leading position in Chinese sales charts, it is adding another small EV to its range: the Bingo EV.
Last week, China’s top-selling Hongguang Mini EV faced a new competitor, the Panda from Geely, which wants its piece of the cake with dimensions and specifications basically a carbon copy of Wuling’s microcar. But the latter is staying one step ahead, as the all-new Bingo EV has been leaked before its official debut.
Two battery packs
The Bingo EV is a pointer for Wuling’s future design path, featuring some retro styling and a wink to the Smart #1 (which is co-owned by Geely). It shows a bi-colored bodywork, chrome finishing, a rear roof spoiler, and LED lighting in an oval theme, showing a more upscale approach to the city car segment. It also features four doors, granting passengers easier access to the rear bench.
The Bingo EV measures almost four meters (3 950 millimeters) and a rather generous wheelbase for its size of 2 560 millimeters. The weight sits at a good 990 kg. Two battery packs are available.
The smaller one, with a capacity of 17,3 kWh, has a single e-motor of 30 kW, and the larger one, 31,9 kWh, delivers 50 kW. Both versions drive the front wheels. The range is 203 and 333 kilometers, respectively, according to the favorable Chinese cycle (CLTC).
Wuling, co-owned by General Motors, will need the new product to keep sales level up. Since January, government subsidies have been removed in China, though the VAT exemption for NEVs (New Energy Vehicles) has been maintained. Initially, the subsidies were planned to be abolished two years ago, but they were extended as part of the corona measures.
The budget change is already leaving traces in the Chinese sales figures. Accounting for almost a quarter (24,7%) of all car sales, NEV registrations were down by 7,1 percent in the first month of the year. As the overall car market also plunged, sales of NEVs in China have now been halved. The NEV category includes battery-powered (BEV) and fuel cell vehicles (FCEV) but also plug-in hybrids (PHEV).
The effect of incentives
Interestingly, the latter managed to gain market share (+42,5%), where sales of BEVs (-18,2%) and FCEVs (-15,6%) decreased in a year-to-year comparison. The slow start at the beginning of the year is witnessed in several countries worldwide as incentives were halted.
As a result, customers rushed by the end of the year to reap the last benefits, resulting in a new year’s dip. One of the most extreme examples was Norway, where car registrations fell by 66,5% in January.