Compared to many of the funky-looking EVs we find for the Awesomely Weird Alibaba Electric Vehicle of the Week column, today’s entry is dangerously close to being almost normal. In fact, it actually is fairly normal in China, where smaller and less expensive EVs are quite common.
This specific model is produced by a manufacturer known as Wuling, which you may have seen before. The carmaker has even created a joint venture with GM, resulting in some neat little electric pickup trucks and other small electric cars.
The strangest thing here is that there are actually Wuling cars listed on Alibaba, which is normally home to the stranger types of nonconventional electric vehicles such as coffee carts shaped like vintage VW buses or an entire backyard electric train set you can ride around on.
The mini electric Wuling car here is a serious step up from the lower production value vehicles we’re used to seeing in this weekly column. I dare say it even looks kind of… cool!
The little Wuling has some pretty decent specs, too. The 30 kW motor puts out 40 hp, which is plenty for such a small and lightweight car. It can reach speeds of up to 100 km/h (62 mph), meaning it’s great for the city but can also travel on urban highways and arterial roads.
The 26.5 kWh battery isn’t exactly massive, but it also doesn’t need to be. This is very much an urban car, and so that smaller battery that still offers around 280 km (173 miles) at slower city speeds. For anyone doubting that claim, consider that those figures work out to around 150 Wh/mi (90 Wh/km), which seems reasonable for a golf cart sized car traveling at city speeds.
But this Wuling isn’t a simple golf cart. It’s got full windows and doors, nice interior, climate control, and of course that convertible top.
There are really only two downsides I can think of. First, that $15,000 price is considerably less than you’d actually end up paying to get it to the US. I wouldn’t be surprised if ocean freight charges, tariffs, customs fees and other charges end up doubling the price before it hits US soil. Secondly, if you did decide to buy one of these Wuling vehicles on Alibaba, it wouldn’t spend very long on US soil before being confiscated by CBP and destroyed. These aren’t even close to being street legal in the US and thus aren’t legal for import.
So this is yet another one of these cool Chinese EVs that we’ll unfortunately just have to enjoy from a distance. Though you better believe that if I ever get to visit China (again), I’ll definitely be cruising around in style in one of these.