Ever since the original Tesla Roadster went out of production in 2012, electric open-top motoring has been essentially restricted to the Smart ForTwo Cabrio EV.
Stepping up into the niche is the smallest mass market EV, and one of the best selling EVs of all time: the Wuling Hongguang Mini.
Produced as part of a joint venture between SAIC — the company behind the revived MG — and GM, the Cabrio has been designed to appeal the brand’s hardcore fans, many of whom have been customizing their cars and were asking for a convertible version.
The production Cabrio is essentially a toned version of the concept unveiled last year.
Production will initially be limited to between 100 and 200 cars per month. Potential buyers will need to enter a lottery in order to buy one.
Wuling says production could expand if there’s enough demand.
Pricing has yet to be determined, but according to Automotive News the convertible will sell for between 100,000 yuan ($20,000) and 200,000 yuan ($42,100).
That’s a considerable price premium over the regular Hongguang Mini EV, which starts from just 32,800 yuan ($6900) and stretches to 698,000 yuan ($114,700) for a fully-loaded Game Boy edition.
Depending on the spec, the Mini EV is powered by either 20kW/85Nm or 30kW/110Nm electric motor driving the rear wheels.
This is paired to either a 9.2kWh, 13.9kWh, or 25.5kWh battery. Range is claimed to be between 120km on the base battery, and 280km on top-spec versions.
Limited to using a standard 220V AC outlet, charging is naturally slow, with the base battery pack taking six hours to fully recharge.
Measuring just 2917mm long, 1493mm wide, 1621mm tall, and riding on a 1940mm wheelbase, the Mini EV is larger than the current Smart ForTwo by 222mm in length, 66mm in height, and 67mm in wheelbase. The Smart is, however, a considerable 170mm wider.
Despite its compact dimensions the Hongguang Mini EV has four seats. Thanks to the folding fabric roof and rollover hoops, the cabrio version is strictly a two seater, though.
Last year the Hongguang Mini EV was China’s best selling pure electric car with roughly 426,000 sales, well ahead of the considerably more expensive Tesla Model 3 (321,000).