GM shrinks EV with Baojun hatch
Meet the smallest, cheapest and quirkiest car in the General Motors armoury – the Chinese-built, all-electric Baojun E100.
Designed as a step up from the electric bicycles and motor scooters that swarm through city seats in the world’s biggest motor market, the China-only three-door hatchback is being launched under the Baojun brand by SAIC-GM-WULING – a joint venture of GM and Chinese partners SAIC Motor and Liuzhou Wuling Motors.
Half as long as a Holden Commodore at 2488mm and almost 400mm narrower at 1506mm, the two-seat city runabout can travel up to 150km on a full charge of its lithium-ion batteries.
Top speed is said to be 100kmh, even though its single electric motor delivers a puny 29kw of power to the front wheels. As always with electric vehicles, torque is the key, topping out at 110Nm in this case.
Charging via a port hidden behind the Baojun horse head badge on the grille – Baojun means treasure horse in Chinese – takes 7.5 hours on a standard household electricity socket.
Looking similar in concept to Daimler’s Smart Fortwo, the E100 boasts a simply but funky interior with bright pastel highlights.
In a cute touch, the brake and accelerator pedals are emblazoned with large plus and minus signs respectively.
A console-mounted knob is used to select drive, reverse and park, while an eight-inch digital display in front of the driver incorporates speedo, tacho, battery charge readout and other functions.
Luggage space behind the twin seats is sufficient for a few shopping bags.
As its city habitat dictates, the E100 has a tight turning radius of 3.7 metres.
Electric steering, Wi-fi and parking sensors are available on both variants, with the up-market version gaining a touchpad, air filter and keyless entry.
Thanks to Chinese government subsidies for electric vehicles, the cheaper of two Baojun E100 variants sells for just 35,800 yuan, $A6781.
So far, the new model is only available in limited numbers in SAICGM-WULING’S home city of Liuzhou, in the southern Chinese province of Guangxi, seemingly as a toe-in-thewater exercise ahead of a possible roll-out across China where several major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai have restrictions on fossilfuel-powered motor vehicles.
The first batch of 200 vehicles drew a queue of 5000 potential buyers.
The company says a second batch of 500 will go on sale this week, with Chinese motoring pundits predicting a sell-out success.
SAIC-GM-WULING is GM’S ‘home brand’ Chinese producer, pumping out two million vehicles a year – 20 percent of GM global sales.
In early August, former Holden chairman and managing director Mike Devereux became executive vice-president of the Chinese company, which is China’s biggest passenger vehicle producer behind western brands such as Volkswagen and Chevrolet.
POWER DOWN: The Chinese-built Baojun E100 has only 29kw of power from its electric motor, but still manages 100kmh.