No $4,500 Electric Car For You!

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If electric cars are so very necessary to prevent “climate change” – that imminently looming apocalypse – then why is the government that’s pushing them so hard refusing to allow the ones people could afford on the market?

In China, one can buy various electric cars for less than $10,000 – just as one can buy useful not-electric little trucks like the $9,000 Zhengtu pick-up truck made by GM’s Chinese subsidiary, Wuling, that Americans aren’t allowed to buy  . . . in America.

How about an EV that costs about what three iPhones cost?

That would be the $4,500 Wuling Hongguang Mini. Also made by GM’s Wuling Chinese subsidiary.

It is the best-selling EV, in China – outselling Tesla, one of the government-mandated EVs Americans are allowed to buy. If they can afford to buy it. Which most Americans can’t because most Americans cannot even consider spending – financing – a car that will cost them close to $50,000 – plus interest.

Tesla founder Elon Musk claims he’s developing an EV that will cost less than $30,000 but he also claims he’ll be space-touristing people to Mars and even if his promise regarding a $30k-ish EV ends up being fulfilled, $30k-ish is still at least $10,000 less affordable than a non-electric economy car such as a Toyota Corolla or Hyundai Accent and $25,000 less affordable than the Wuling and other Chinese-available EVs that are unavailable in America.

But made by American corporations, such as GM.

Consider that.

Ask yourself  . . . why is that?

Here – well, over there – is an electric car practically anyone could afford. An EV many high school kids could afford to pay cash for. An EV that makes financial sense, an attribute no EV available in America can tout.

The Wuling isn’t ludicrously fast, of course.

Because it’s meant to be ludicrously easy to buy. So as to encourage as many people as possible – especially young people – to buy one. It’s small and light – just under 1,500 pounds. For that reason, it only needs a 17.4 horsepower electric motor powered by a 9.2-13.8 kilowatt-hour battery pack that weighs a fourth what a Tesla’s 1,000 pound battery pack does.

A Tesla is designed for ludicrous speed, to make up for the fact that it isn’t affordable – its speed being responsible for that (and its absurd weight) in a ludicrous feedback loop that makes no sense unless the point of electric cars like the Tesla is to make sure most people cannot afford to drive one.

Another factor driving that is the expectation that all EVs sold in America be capable of high speed, highway driving – which drives up the cost of the EVs available in America by at least doubling the size and capacity of the battery pack needed to make that possible . . . sort of.

Even with 1,000-plus pounds of batteries, a Tesla can only go about as far as the gas-hoggiest non-electric cars, such as the Dodge Challenger Hellcat (also capable of ludicrous speed, just without the wait).

One hogs gas – the other hogs energy.

The little Wuling three-door hogs neither.

Its not a highway car. It cannot go 150 miles down the highway at 70-plus MPH. The top speed of this little EV is 62 MPH and its maximum range is just over 106 miles on a charge. But that is plenty of speed – and range – for millions of Americans who might want a car they could just buy, without making payments.

Which also recharges faster using less energy because there’s less to recharge.

But it’s not “saaaaaaaaafe”!

So emanates the squeal of apologia for the Wuling – and similar EVs available in China and other places – not being allowed here.

What they mean is, it’s not compliant – with the litany of federally mandated rules and regulations pertaining to how a car must absorb impacts in a crash; that it must be fitted with air bags (which have recently proved to be very unsafe) and other such that may indeed lower the risk of being injured or killed  . . . if the car is involved in an accident.

It does not mean the car will be or is more likely to be involved in an accident.

This is an important distinction. According to the rules and regulations currently applicable to all new cars, a circa 2005 Mercedes S-Class sedan is not “safe,” either. But a 2022 Toyota Corolla is.

Which would you rather be inside of in the event of an accident?

A new Tesla is also very “safe” – unless of course it catches fire. Which it is more likely to, on account of its 1,000-plus pounds of extremely high voltage batteries that must absorb 400-plus volts of electricity, to “fast” charge. It also has a tendency to have accidents, so it’s probably a good thing that it is “safe” – or rather, compliant.

The little Wuling would not do as well in a crash as a new Tesla, but since Americans aren’t allowed to buy the Wuling, it hardly matters. Just as it hardly matters that a Tesla is “safe” – that is, compliant – since few Americans can afford it.

If the American government – the bureaucrats and apparatchiks who are the government – were truly motivated by the “climate crisis” rather than using the “climate crisis,” they would open America to affordable, sensible little EVs like the Wuling.

After all, it might “save the planet.”

It appears that the Chinese government is more interested in getting its people behind the wheel – about half a million of them over the past 12 months – while this government wants them somewhere else.

. . .

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50 COMMENTS

  1. What type of battery does the $4500 Wuling have? Is it a lithium-ion, or is it something else–iron-nickel or Lead-acid?

    What is the expected life of the battery? How much does a replacement cost?

  2. When COMMUNIST nations offer their citizens more freedom and a lower cost of living than “free” democratic ones, you know something is definitely wrong!

  3. At $4500, I could buy for every day of the week and it’s still be much cheaper than a crappy tesla. No matter, it is etched in granite that anything the government touches turns to mud. The global warming fad will end up in disaster and Americans will pay for that disaster.

  4. Watching the video made me smile, if only to see people modding there cars and having pride in them.

    Still hate EV’s, but looks like they got a crop of new car enthusiasts over there who take pride in their rides and spend their time and money working on them

  5. Back when NEVs were more expensive and less useful we had a few wierd little cars like the zenn and xebra. Government taxed them heavily and governed them to 35 mph. What I would like to see is 90s spec cars being made new. Imagine your favorite cars of the 90s pretty much as they were offered. Without all of the electronics, airbags and overly complicated shapes, could have a nice efficient little car suitable for 100 mph driving for around $12k. a year 2000 elantra has about the same power and mpg as a 2020 elantra. But it had better visability and lower maintenance costs

    • Yes, Anon, that would be wonderful. I wish many things worked like that: old phones, MP3 players, cars, etc. The cost of such un-upgraded items should decrease to a point at which it is no longer profitable to make them, and hover around that equilibrium.

      Can’t have that, as those items would displace much, if not all of the “upgraded” items, and it’s the newer, pricier items that fetch more money, and are often loaded with the newest spy and bloatware, along with compulsory nanny-state features, which are increasingly shadow (or openly) mandated.

      • As volume decreases the price to make something increases. This due to logistics and set up costs. Not only for the parts but the assembly as well. If volume decreases below a certain point then suppliers don’t even want your business. Now you have to redesign to use off the shelf stuff from crackmastercarr or make it yourself or use prototype/short run suppliers. Either way it gets expensive fast.

        The force balance between govt, central bank inflation, customers wanting new, and customers wanting things to never change varies by industry. If new shiny dominates the customer base there’s no way you can keep things the same. With govt regs forcing redesigns and inflation forcing new cheaper designs as the customer doesn’t want to spend more in numerical terms for the same old thing there’s a lot of pressure out there for most products.

        The keep it the same customers are a limited base for most stuff but in some industries they are very strong. That’s where you’ll see things like the product getting redone but then there’s a ‘new’ higher end product that is the same as it always was but for more money because of inflation. That’s where the keep it the same people are strong because they’ll willingly pay the fed’s toll to have it the way it’s always been.

  6. Great article. I posted comments about this same subject the other day after seeing video’s and reading articles about the HUNDREDS of electric car manufacturers in China.

    One thing I’ve only just thought about is how easy it could be to work on and how this could get kids back into car ownership as well and get them working on them. If allowed to, they could be very simple machines compared with what the modern combustion engine has become.

    It’s funny but this is the kind of thing that could make your fast food affordable again. LOL They made car ownership for poor kids out of range. Without car ownership kids would rather stay home and go on-line and live in the virtual world than flip burgers, it’s a bad cycle. Cars teach responsibility, they give kids a reason to work and the consequences of not taking care of their own property and maintaining it etc.

    If they would allow a Wild West attitude towards electric cars kids would get back into them in droves. This might even make the real world enjoyable enough that many of them kick the on-line world habit.

    • Baseline expenses and barriers to entry are awful. My first 20 cars cost less than $2000. A couple of them were under $500 pretty easy to get a car when they cost a paycheck (part time low wage at that) it isnt the cost of new cars keeping teens out of cars but used car prices. Also graduated licensing, insurance, helicopter parents, poor education, autism and all of the other stuff.

      • True indeed. I remember when a Chevy Vega was about 15 years old and you could scrape enough money together in a couple of months bagging groceries to buy one, put in a stereo and couple of 6x9s Pioneers in the back deck, $5 in the tank and a rack of beer in the trunk. You may have even wrecked it and, if you’re like my circle of Animal House inspired dumbasses, cut off the crushed rear bumper, tailpipe and muffler, took a grinder to the roof, made it a convertible and painted “Don’t worry your daughter’s in here” on the side. I think now it would get you locked up as a trrrrist. No one in authority really took a bunch of hormone-poisoned but otherwise harmless teenagers that serious. We had to paint over the slogan to prevent getting a ticket but otherwise the cops didn’t care that it was marginally street legal and definitely not safe, even in an early 80s automobile context. We had left the stubs of tetanus-risk ‘B’ pillars for the shoulder belts after all. Goodness that car was an obnoxious POS and we loved it.

      • The government has priced kids out of used and new vehicles and that has consequences. They are now doing the same thing with electric cars, they have them priced beyond what basic transportation should cost.

        Although I don’t think the price of used cars or new cars has anything to do with whether or not kids would like to have super cheap electrics available to fuck around with, the same way we had fun with our cheap cars back in the day. They don’t even have to be cars that go on the expressway, they shouldn’t require a license or insurance. They don’t have to be some crash resistant heavy supped up hot rod either although I could see that being a thing even with cheap electrics. In China they have Hundreds of electric car companies because they make them in every price range you can imagine, it’s a Wild West. If we had there here, I’m pretty sure kids would be into it, just like they are over there.

  7. I have a Ford Maverick Hybrid on order….assuming that the dealer doesn’t try to last minute gouge me on delivery I’ll probably accept delivery early next year. (they were delayed partially due to EPA ratings being in contention with Ford and battery supplier issues)

    My point is this:

    I made the comment on a YT video a few months ago that what the market really needs is an EV just like you’ve posted in this write-up Eric. I was scoffed at in the comments sections…people were incredulous. I noted, “Look, if Ford can find a way to package both a small EV batter, motor and it’s associated componentry and Mazda 2.5L Atkinson cycle engine into a 4 door trucklet for under $20k($21.5 w/delivery) than surely they could make a complete 100 mile EV only trucklet for even less. (Under $15k)

    My hope is that one of the manufacturers here in the US eventually get there….I think Ford is close. Getting 40 MPG combined on a 4 door truck is still pretty amazing to me even if it is FWD and 2000 lb tow rating limited. (which covers most of my needs and probably that of most F150 drivers who spent north of $40K on their ride)

    • I also wanted to add that the Maverick’s body panels are all steel, except for the hood and tailgate. (that’s what I’ve been told anyway)

      This comment is just for Eric. 🙂

      • Hi Nick,

        We had a major reboot and some of the old features apparently either got dropped or were changed. I will see whether it’s possible to get an “edit” function for the comments … .

        • If Nick is referring to the ability to see the edit comments screen in read only, that’s back and working. Using it now. As far as actually editing one’s own comments… I don’t think wordpress supports that at all and never saw it here.

    • Amen, Nick!

      My wish is for choice.

      That people be freed to choose whatever type of vehicle meets their needs – which the car companies should be free to supply. If such a free market existed, it would be possible for small start-ups to offer the types of vehicles you describe. I have two good friends, one of them an ace mechanic, the other a skilled fabricator. The three of us have the skill set to build a small, basic car that we’re certain could deliver 60 MPG for less than $10,000.

      But we’re bared from offering such a vehicle – effectively – because we can’t afford to fit it with six air bags and back-up cameras nor throw away a dozen-plus prototypes “crash testing” them.

      Henry Ford could not build – well, sell – the Model T, today.

      PS: Typo fixed!

      • You probably know this since I get “Revology” ads on your site but you can manufacture a limited number of “reproduction” cars (300-500) older than 25 years that are subject to some gov stuff but not all. I know it’s mostly high end stuff now but does it have to be? In six years, you could recreate your 02 Frontier from scratch.

  8. Another reason those tiny chink electronic cars not sold in the west. Those chinese are skinny lean people. Westerners are obese and fat. Can you just imagine how stressed those seats are with fat Johnny sitting on them? And imagine fat Johnny trying to squeeze all his fat into that little car. The battery charge would decrease 50% with fat Johnny in the car.

  9. EP: “…the litany of federally mandated rules and regulations…”
    Mandates, rules and regulations are not laws,

    “Any fool can make a rule And any fool will mind it.”
    ― Henry David Thoreau

    EP: “If the American government – the bureaucrats and apparatchiks
    who are the government – were truly motivated by the
    “climate crisis” rather than using the “climate crisis,”
    they would open America to affordable, sensible
    little EVs like the Wuling.”

    “Politicians achieve power not to solve society’s problems
    but to personally benefit from their privileged positions,
    positions that over time indebts and impoverishes
    those they rule.”

  10. I remember seeing a drawing of a (small) concept car for urban use some time ago.
    One of the features was a “crab steer” mode, meaning there was a steering mode where wheels on both axles pointed the same direction, intended for easy parking.

    You can see this concept in action @ 2:38 in this video:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CVB99X1G8g
    The steering mode is selectable (via a lever on the old ‘bone).
    Four wheel steering in either mode. The “normal” steering mode is for front & rear wheels to steer opposite directions, but “crab” mode is available for tight spaces.

  11. What if politicians didn’t want to keep people ‘safe’ but really wanted to maintain a distinction between classes?

    By constantly adding new regulations raising the prices of everything from cars to houses the end effect is to simply have people do without. To make it so they can’t have it.

    Now add in other things like ‘climate change’, ‘covid19’, various collectivist agendas, they are all designed to prevent people from being able to live better by making it take ever more difficult to reach those goals.

    Meanwhile the free market is always better for less, year over year. It’s only a matter of time before China starts doing what is done in the west, but for the moment we can see what pleasing customers still looks like.

  12. I’d rather have a Ford Pinto and get hit in the rear, than one of these time-bomb electric death mobiles. Nothing about these fake electric toy cars even makes any sense at all — they don’t work, period. They won’t work for 99.9999% of people. I wish they would just stop with this wastage & fraud & polluting the planet. This world needs some justice, yesterday.

    • I’m with you, Harry! While I despise the fact that Uncle won’t let people have these….cars(?)- I couldn’t imagine EVER driving such things! They are tantamount to those little 12V electric toy cars for kids. Just like those stupid “Smart cars”- they get whacked, and they go careening around like a pinball. Having to drive such a contraption is substantially no different than not driving at all. Poverty-mobiles for the proles.

    • I still remember articles blasting Toyota because they still offered I think it was a early-mid 1990s Corolla in Mexico. Brand new. Made in Mexico. Same car that was sold world wide in the 1990s but some 20+ years later it was just offered as a lower cost vehicle in select markets, maybe only Mexico. It was horrific that they were offering this ‘unsafe’ car for sale in the world. It was just as safe as the car was in the 1990s. Which is safe enough for just about everyone.

      And then there were was the hand wringing about the ‘evil’ people who bought cars that were totalled out in floods in the USA, cleaned them up and shipped them over to Africa and sold them at prices Africans could afford. They didn’t even hide what they were selling. Their customers were happy to get a car they could afford. Sure it might have some bugs, they might have to fix something, but it was a car and beat walking. But to the western press these were ‘unsafe’ cars. Ug.

  13. Eric,

    As a retired person who mainly sticks to my local area feeding stray cats, this car would WORK for me! I don’t go out of town much; when I did, I could go to the local Enterprise office, and I could rent an ICEV for the rare instances when I take trips out of town. I get so PISSED at what I’m not allowed to get-in the “Land of the Free”, no less!

    • I know someone who rented vehciles for long trips because his Jeep was brutal on the highway. Said it was worth the extra cost just because he could drive for hours without fatigue.

    • Well, shit. They say it does 0-60 in 2.0 seconds! That’s like being shot out of a cannon. Also “Combined gasoline+electricity: 70 MPGe”, and even the mileage running from gasoline-only isn’t bad. Pretty impressive, even if it does cost half a million dollars.

  14. ‘It appears that the Chinese government is more interested in getting its people behind the wheel … while this government wants them somewhere else.’ — eric

    Strange … but evidently true.

    An old hand in Taipei once told me that when he arrived in 1962, only military transports and the occasional black government limousine were seen on the streets. Ordinary people rode bicycles and Honda 90s to get about.

    In developing Asia, where grandparents can still describe growing up in abject poverty, reaching comfortable, western living standards has a robust public consensus behind it.

    So what happened to America, where living standards have been stagnant since the 1970s?

    Regulating cars into unaffordability; regulating schools into woke-culture dysfunction; regulating workplaces into ethnic-quota, mandatory-vax nightmares that workers flee: American decadence has taken hold with a malicious vengeance.

    Empires have flourished then decayed throughout history. But it’s pretty disturbing to have a front-row seat as this dying empire slides down the chute into the landfill.

    FJB ’24! /sarc

  15. This is a great example of what could be done here, but isn’t. That little car offers plenty of performance for city driving, IF you don’t hit the freeway. And yes, SO many kids would buy it, being that affordable and low maintenance, because today’s kids are nothing if not poor and lousy at maintenance. 😉

    So are many of the older adults, at that, sadly.

    I still would love that Zhengtu truck. So very utilitarian. Today’s American trucks, with their 4′ bed side walls and 3′ length, seem more like the bed is made to be a hot tub than used for work.

    NOW, if we can get both the supposed “freedom advocates” on the “right” to unify with some “environmentalists” on the “left”, to dismantle some restrictive vehicular regulations, we might stand a chance.

  16. I wish it were a curious thing, but why so concerned with the safety of a car you MIGHT buy, but not in the least concerned about the safety of the vaccine they want to FORCE you to take?
    The answer of course is that they are not sane moral human beings with ethical standards. They are sadists, and will choose whichever policy inflicts the most pain.

    • I keep on hammering on that to these people pushing the jabs. They wouldn’t even buy a car with Takata airbag or a few serious sounding NHTSA safety defect reports but will insult people who don’t want to take the risk of heart problems with the jabs or who look at VAERS. They’ll say the adverse reactions are ‘rare’. Well so is having a shard of metal through the chest from a Takata airbag.

      Engineers have far higher standards to live up to than scientists. For engineers ‘rare’ is unacceptable while for scientists, it’s just fine.

      • anon 1

        Why would you expect a good outcome from an injection from a sadistic satanist?

        An extermination shot that inflicts the most horrible drawn out death imaginable, it was designed by sadistic satanists, a wood chipper would be a better death and quicker.

        They are sitting there laughing at the stupid people that got sucked into the killing machine, they really get off on torture and suffering. Check out the recent pic of fauci laughing.

        • Indeed, Anon –

          It astounds me that so many would just trust these pharmaceutical things to act in their best interests. These creatures, whom we know – it is undeniable – have done horrible things in the past.

          Now, if they could be held liable for any harms their drugs cause – and if we were free to choose to take them – then it would be a different story. The fact that neither is the case is precisely why only a fool would trust them.

  17. The problem isn’t what Americans could do with this vehcile, it’s what some might do with this vehicle. Some might take it on the highway. Some might drive it too fast on a corner. Some might overload it with lumber from Home Dept. Some might mod it for more performance.

    The correct reaction to any of these “mights” would be to agree and make a snarky comment about stupid people and move on. But the corporate world has been beaten down so badly now that it no longer has any sense of humor about anything. Oh sure, all of us in the corporate world know it’s all BS, but we go along with what the boss says because we’re not in charge of the operation. So we get a ponch and lose our hair and laugh at the manager’s jokes at the cash bar Christmas party. And you keep your ideas for a great product to yourself because no one is listening anyway.

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