Baojun E100: GM's tiny, two-seat electric car for China
Baojun E100 electric car
Most North Americans and Europeans will likely never have heard of Baojun, but it's one of many brands operated under General Motors' SAIC-GM-Wuling joint venture in China.
Its portfolio is mostly made up of small sedans, multi-purpose vehicles (small minivans), hatchbacks, and a crossover utility vehicle, but the brand recently undertook its first electric car.
The Baojun E100, a small electric two-seater car, was revealed for the Guanxi region of the country with an initial production of 200 units expected for launch.
However, that small figure hardly matches the buzz the electric car has generated: GM says more than 5,000 people have registered to purchase those first 200 examples of the electric car.
Part of the Baojun E100's attraction is most certainly its low price.
The miniature electric car starts at RMP 93,900 ($14,000 USD) before any government incentives are applied.
Once national and local incentives are applied, the price falls dramatically to $5,400 USD at current exchange rates.
Such a low price doesn't produce impressive results for range or technology, but it does supply basic electric-vehicle transportation at a very affordable price.
Baojun's E100 boasts a 29-kilowatt (39-horsepower) electric motor, which propels the electric car to a top speed of 62 mph.
The brand says the E100 will go 155 kilometers (96 miles) on a single charge and the lithium-ion battery pack can be fully recharged in 7.5 hours.
As always, the electric car recaptures energy while driving via its regenerative braking system.
As for the car itself, it provides seating for two adults, despite an incredibly small footprint.
The wheelbase measures in at 63 inches, which is 10 inches shorter than a Smart ForTwo, the smallest car sold in North America for several decades.
The Baojun E100 is effectively GM's answer to an upcoming low-cost electric car from Renault-Nissan that is planned for China and India.
Former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn previously said the small electric car will boast an affordable price, but return a lower driving range in exchange for affordability.
Plans for Renault-Nissan's ultra-affordable electric car peg it to arrive in 2020.
Baojun will focus solely on the Guanxi region for now; another 500 E100s will become available this week.
Without providing specifics, GM has said it will expand sales of the E100 into additional regions of China at a later date.