I regularly follow the sales updates of electric vehicles from China here on Clean Technica. Indeed, Chinese automakers are probably our best bet for the mass production of battery electric vehicles that, across all vehicle segments, will reach every corner of the world at affordable prices. Chinese solar panel makers have dramatically increased production, leading to massive price cuts. Cheaper solar panels have driven strong growth across utility, C&I, and residential solar sectors worldwide.
Chinese electric vehicle makers have ramped up production of electric vehicles, spurred by strong domestic demand. They have already started exporting some of these vehicles to Europe and other places, but are now starting to really position themselves for larger scale global exports. Major players such as BYD and SAIC have been very optimistic about their global plans. For example, SAIC has made good progress with some of its MG models in Europe, such as the MG ZS EV and the MG5 station wagon. SIAC is now adding the MG4 to the lineup and exploring more overseas markets. The MG4 has received rave reviews so far. The MG4 is aimed at the popular hatchback market and will receive an all-wheel-drive hot hatch version next year. Already, the MG4 is launching on the UK market at price parity with an entry-level version of one of the most popular cars in this category, the VW Golf.
- VW Golf 8 Life (ICE), 1.0 TSI, 6-speed manual, 108bhp, price £25,340
- MG4, 50.8kWh (net), 168hp, price £25,995
It’s really good to see an all-electric hatchback on par with an iconic car like the VW Golf. This should help more people drive electric.
Another car that looks set to transform the automotive landscape into another popular category and price range in Asia and other markets Hozon Neta V. The Hozon Neta already has an international right-hand drive version, supporting Hozon’s push for the international market. The Neta V is one of the electric models that has been consistently in the top 20 of Chinese NEV sales for some time, along with several models from BYD, SAIC, Cherry, Changan, Great Wall and Leap Motor.
The Neta V was recently launched in Thailand and it is available at a very affordable price. The Neta V starts at around 549,000 baht ($15,000). The Neta V is built in China (to be assembled in Thailand in the near future) and lands at a price that’s on par with popular ICE models such as the Toyota Yaris.
The longer range entertainment version of the Neta V has a 55kW motor producing a maximum of 175Nm of torque. It has a top speed of 100 km/h and a 6.6 kW on-board charger, as well as DC fast charging from 30-80% in 30 minutes. CATL’s 38.54 kWh LFP battery is good for around 300 km in the WLTP cycle. The Hozon Neta V has a fairly minimalist interior punctuated by a 14.6-inch central screen and a 12-inch instrument screen. Hozon emphasizes that there is no need to press any buttons, as drivers will have full control via the central touchscreen. The Neta V also comes with digital AI companion “Xiao You” as well as built-in apps – including Tiktok! The company sells a lifestyle in an attractive and affordable package that is on par with equivalent ICE cars in countries like Thailand. Customers in Thailand are now taking delivery of the Neta V. Hozon plans to export the Neta V to more countries around the world after the deployment in ASEAN countries.
The Neta V sells for around $10,000 in China. I hope we will soon have this type of vehicle in East and Southern Africa, where we also drive on the left and need right-hand drive vehicles. Even if the Neta V could land at double the price in China after shipping, import duties, taxes and dealer markups, it would find a ready market in that part of the world. An EV for $20,000 or less would be a game changer here. In South Africa, for example, a survey conducted by Autotrader showed that most respondents say they would consider switching to an electric car if it was for R500,000 or less (about $29,000). A R346,000 ($20,000) Hozon Neta V would sell like hot cakes in South Africa.
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