In early September, the SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Co. joint venture (formed by General Motors and Wuling Motors) will launch the Cabrio, a soft-top version of the Hongguang MINI EV, or, if you prefer, the best-selling electric car in China last year.
Indeed, this city car sold more than 426,000 units in 2021, compared to more than 321,000 copies of the Tesla Model 3, a statistic that speaks volumes about Chinese automobilists’ love for the electric micro car.
The trouble is, the Cabrio won’t be produced at the same insane rate as the hardtop. The automaker reportedly plans to produce between 100 and 200 vehicles per month, which inspired this lottery system to get access to the open-air version. The winners of this lottery will be announced later in September. As for the price of this special livery, it will be decidedly higher than the $5,000 (in U.S. dollars) required to get behind the wheel of a base version of the fixed-roof car.
The manufacturer will be able to adjust its production according to demand, as the Cabrio was developed for the brand’s loyal clientele, including those who customize their cars or outright those who have sent a request for a convertible version to the company.
We still don’t know all the details surrounding this curious city car, but you should know that the regular version benefits from a rear-mounted engine delivering 27 horsepower and an estimated 62 lb-ft of torque. Fortunately, the car’s weight (about 700 kg, or 200 less than the now-defunct Smart Fortwo sold in North America) doesn’t penalize it too much. Expect the Cabrio to weigh slightly more, but it’s not likely to be a substantial gain.
The fixed-roof car offers two battery capacities, one of 9.3 and the other of 13.8 kWh, giving it a range of 120 km or 170 km respectively, a distance estimated using the NEDC calculation method.
Obviously, the Cabrio – or its fixed-roof version – won’t be sold on this side of the Pacific, but a removable-roof version of the best-selling electric car in the world’s largest car market cannot be ignored.