The Baojun Yep is available in two versions, with the pricier one equipped with a smart driving system developed by SAIC-GM-Wuling with drone maker DJI.
(Image credit: SAIC-GM-Wuling)
SAIC-GM-Wuling today officially launched its new electric vehicle (EV), the Yep, the latest addition to its line of mini EVs.
The Yep is available under SAIC-GM-Wuling's Baojun brand in two versions, starting at RMB 79,800 ($11,290) and RMB 89,800 respectively.
The Baojun Yep looks somewhat similar to the Suzuki Jimny, and SAIC-GM-Wuling said the model uses the Square Box design language to target the needs of younger customers.
The length, width and height of the Baojun Yep are 3,381 mm, 1,685 mm and 1,721 mm respectively, with a wheelbase of 2,110 mm.
For comparison, the Hongguang Mini EV, another SAIC-GM-Wuling model, measures 3,059 mm in length, 1,521 mm in width and 1,614 mm in height, with a wheelbase of 2,010 mm.
The Baojun Yep is powered by a permanent magnet synchronous motor with a peak power of 50 kW and a peak torque of 140 Nm.
The model has a battery pack capacity of 28.1 kWh and a CLTC range of 303 km.
It supports fast charging and can go from 30 percent to 80 percent in 35 minutes.
The Baojun Yep with a starting price of RMB 89,800 is equipped with the Lingxi intelligent driving system announced in August 2022 by SAIC-GM-Wuling and DJI Automotive, the automotive division of drone manufacturer DJI.
The system is based on SAIC-GM-Wuling's "Emotion Engine" concept, which focuses on urban mobility scenarios, SAIC-GM-Wuling previously said.
The Lingxi intelligent driving system takes advantage of DJI's technological strengths in the field of binocular cameras and is based on the latter's algorithms in the field of vision perception and experience in vision perception systems for drones.
SAIC-GM-Wuling's 2023 Baojun KiWi EV is the first model to use the system.
Equipped with the Lingxi system, the Baojun Yep allows users to turn on intelligent driving with a single click, enabling functions including obstacle recognition and response, and intelligent speed regulation in curves.
The model is also equipped with smart parking assist, which enables full-scene automatic parking.
SAIC-GM-Wuling is a joint venture between SAIC Group, General Motors and Liuzhou Wuling Automobile, headquartered in Liuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southwestern China.
It sells vehicles based on the GSEV (Global Small Electric Vehicle) architecture in China, including the Mini EV, KiWi EV, Nano EV, and Air EV. In addition to these pure electric models, SAIC-GM-Wuling also sells fuel-powered SUVs, MPVs, and vans.
In the small EV segment, in addition to the hot-selling Mini EV, SAIC-GM-Wuling launched the mini EV Air EV in China last December and the Binguo EV at the end of March this year.
Notably, SAIC-GM-Wuling has seen a decline in NEV sales so far this year, while other major NEV makers in China have seen sales growth.
In January-April, SAIC-GM-Wuling's NEV retail sales were 111,604 units, down 15.9 percent from 132,658 units in the same period last year, according to data from the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA).
As a comparison, BYD saw sales increase 81.3 percent year-on-year to 702,608 units and Tesla China grew 61.5 percent year-on-year to 177,385 units during this period.
In an effort to boost sales growth, SAIC-GM-Wuling began allowing consumers to pay only for the body and rent the battery when purchasing the Mini EV on May 11, lowering the purchase threshold to RMB 19,800.
On May 22, SAIC-GM-Wuling announced a price cut of up to RMB 13,000 for the Hongguang Mini EV family, saying the move was in response to China's call to promote NEV consumption in rural areas.
This article is being updated, please refresh later for more content.
Tesla vehicles registered 10,200 insurance units in China last week, bringing the number to 26,118 for the first three weeks of May.
Li Auto founder, chairman and CEO Li Xiang said last week that they had been complained about by some of their peers and therefore could not continue to share the weekly insurance registration numbers.
Interestingly, however, the company resumed sharing those numbers today to continue to show that it leads the pack among Chinese new energy vehicle (NEV) startups.
For the week of May 15 to May 21, Li Auto sold 7,100 units, far outpacing other new car brands and reigning as the weekly sales leader for new automaking brands in the Chinese market, the company said today on Weibo.
Li Auto did not explain on what basis the sales were counted, but apparently, they were insurance registrations.
Li Auto surpassed all other traditional luxury brands except Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi to remain in the top five luxury brands in the Chinese market in terms of sales, the highest-ranked Chinese brand on the list, it said.
In the first two weeks of May, Li Auto vehicles had 4,543 and 6,670 insurance registrations, respectively. This means that from May 1 to May 21, Li Auto sold about 18,313 vehicles.
The tables Li Auto shared today show that NIO vehicles had 1,400 insurance registrations last week. This means that NIO had 3,700 insurance registrations for the first three weeks of May.
NIO deliveries continue to be curbed by the upcoming launch of the new ES6, with insurance registration figures of 1,100 and 1,200 in the first and second weeks of May, respectively.
NIO will officially launch the new ES6 on May 24, and its deliveries will start on May 25.
The company is getting the ES6 to market with unprecedented delivery efficiency, and as of May 20, the new ES6 show cars were available at nearly 300 NIO stores in 92 cities.
XPeng registered 1,500 insurance units last week, the same as the previous week. In the first three weeks of May, XPeng vehicles had 3,870 insurance registrations.
XPeng deliveries were also dampened by the new model G6, which is expected to officially launch and begin deliveries at the end of next month.
Insurance registrations for Tesla vehicles in China were 10,200 last week, bringing the figure to 26,118 for the first three weeks of May. The number was 5,928 and 9,990 in the first two weeks of May.
Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) is listing China-made Model 3 and Model Y electric vehicles (EVs) for sale in Canada, confirming that it has completed its first shipments to North America from its Shanghai plant, according to a Reuters report today.
The rear-wheel drive Model Y and the long-range all-wheel drive version of the Model 3 are available for immediate delivery in British Columbia, with codes indicating they were built at Giga Shanghai, the report said.
Both models are eligible for a C$5,000 ($3,695) federal incentive in Canada, which, unlike the US, does not link EV subsidies to the location of the plant where the cars are built, the report noted.
Tesla and other EV makers have a cost advantage in China, and exports to Canada have opened up a new market for Giga Shanghai, the report said.
(Screenshot of Tesla Canada website.)
The company has designed and tested Model Y cars for export to North America and aims to produce nearly 9,000 for export this quarter, the report said, citing a Tesla production plan.
On April 24, Reuters cited people familiar with the matter and a production memo as saying that Tesla had begun production in Shanghai of the Model Y that will be sold in Canada this year.
It will be the first time the company has shipped cars from China to North America, a move that will connect Tesla's largest and most cost-effective factory in the world with its largest market, North America, the report said.
Tesla's Shanghai plant, which makes the Model 3 as well as the Model Y, not only supplies vehicles to local consumers but is also an export center for the EV maker.
XPeng management previously said that the G6 will be officially launched and delivered by the end of the second quarter, with a price range of RMB 200,000 - 300,000. | XPeng US | XPeng HK
XPeng (NYSE: XPEV) has seen the first production vehicle of the G6 roll off the assembly line, as the new SUV gets closer to its official launch.
The development was revealed in a leaked image on Chinese social media of XPeng production line employees celebrating the moment, and XPeng has not released any official content about it.
On March 17, XPeng management said during the company's fourth-quarter earnings call that the G6 will be officially launched and delivered by the end of the second quarter, with a price range of 200,000 yuan ($28,450) to 300,000 yuan.
XPeng's monthly sales target for the G6 is two to three times that of the P7, the company's chairman and CEO He Xiaopeng said in the call.
XPeng gave several previews of the model in early April and unveiled the SUV's exterior ahead of its official debut.
On April 16, the electric vehicle (EV) maker unveiled a new architecture, called SEPA (Smart Electric Platform Architecture) 2.0, at a technology conference in Shanghai, saying the G6 would be the first model built on it.
XPeng officially unveiled the G6 on the first day of the Shanghai auto show on April 18, saying that the G6 is the ultimate form of car before full autonomous driving is achieved.
The model is based on the 800 V high-voltage platform and can get a 300-kilometer range in as little as 10 minutes on a charge, XPeng said at the time. The company's other 800 V-based model is the flagship G9 SUV.
XPeng did not release specific specs or pricing information for the G6, which they expect to know at a future official launch event.
The company appears to be ramping up production preparations for the G6 so that it can deliver it quickly after its official launch, as its local counterparts have proven that strategy to be effective in China's competitive EV market.
XPeng sees the Tesla Model Y as the G6's main competitor. The vehicle is positioned as an all-electric midsize SUV with a length, width and height of 4,753 mm, 1,920 mm and 1,650 mm, respectively, and a wheelbase of 2,890 mm, a regulatory filing in March showed.
For comparison, the Tesla Model Y has a length, width and height of 4,750 mm, 1,921 mm, 1,624 mm and a wheelbase of 2,890 mm.
G6 will need to be successful for XPeng to be truly relevant again in the marketplace, Deutsche Bank analyst Edison Yu's team said in a research note sent to investors on May 17.
XPeng will report its unaudited first-quarter financial results on Wednesday, May 24, before the US markets open, when its earnings call is expected to provide more information on the model.
Shanghai, home to Tesla's China factory and NIO's global headquarters, has seen NEV penetration reach about 50 percent.
To observe China's electric vehicle (EV) transition, Shanghai, home to Tesla's China factory and NIO's global headquarters, is a must-watch city, and something interesting is happening.
In the monthly auction for fuel car license plates, 113,722 people participated in the auction in May, down 6,492 from the previous month, according to the information posted Saturday by the Shanghai government on its official WeChat account.
The number of participants was at a new low since February 2015, or a 99-month low, data compiled by CnEVPost showed.
The number of available license plates in May was 13,214, implying a winning rate of 11.6 percent.
The auction had the lowest winning price of RMB 92,400 ($13,170) and an average price of RMB 92,547, an increase of RMB 135 from RMB 92,412 the previous month.
Shanghai usually holds license plate auctions for fuel cars on the third Saturday morning of each month, with the local government announcing the results in the afternoon.
The event is one of the most watched locally until EVs are accepted by residents, as winning the auction is so difficult that many may have to try for two or three years before they succeed in winning the bid.
In 2022 and before, Shanghai was offering free license plates to consumers who purchase plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) as well as battery electric vehicles (BEVs) to encourage the growth of the NEV industry.
Starting in January 2023, PHEVs are treated the same as conventional internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEs), and consumers will need to obtain license plates through the bidding process in order to register such vehicles in the city.
Shanghai's license plate auctions date back to the 1990s, and the event is currently organized by the Shanghai International Commodity Auction Co Ltd (SICA).
Those wishing to participate in the auction need to first submit an application to the SICA and only after qualifying are approved can they participate in the monthly auctions.
Data from the SICA obtained by CnEVPost dating back to January 2010 show that the number of participants in this month's Shanghai license plate auction is at a record low since February 2015, when the number was 103,224.
This comes as NEV penetration has continued to rise in Shanghai over the past few years, with about half of the cars registered in the city now being NEVs.
In April, all vehicle sales in Shanghai were 45,897 units, of which NEVs contributed 22,243, or 48.46 percent, according to data released earlier this month by the Shanghai Economic Information Center.
The earliest available data for that sales volume is January 2021, when 74,555 vehicles were sold in Shanghai, of which NEVs contributed 23,000, or 30.85 percent, according to data monitored by CnEVPost.
Shanghai, home to about 25 million people, is the location of Tesla's China factory, which currently has an annual capacity of more than 1 million units, making it the largest factory in the world for the US EV maker.
Tesla Shanghai plant produced 727,000 units in 2022, up 49.7 percent from a year earlier, with an industrial output of RMB 183.9 billion, which represents 23 percent of Shanghai's auto manufacturing output, a local official said earlier this month.
Shanghai is also home to NIO's global headquarters, and the Chinese EV company's delivery center in the city's Jiading Nanxiang is its largest in the world.
In 2021, NIO has the No. 1 market share of 23 percent of all fuel and electric SUVs in Shanghai priced at more than 350,000 yuan, William Li, the company's founder, chairman and CEO, said during a March 25, 2022 earnings call.
With Toyota's reluctance to embrace the EV revolution, Chinese premium EV brands, like Zeekr, are eyeing the luxury MPV space as a chance to charge big money.
This review is done by ChinaDriven, which creates content about Chinese EVs on YouTubeTwitter.
Zeekr, Geely's premium EV brand, has introduced a luxurious MPV called the Zeekr 009. But why would a Chinese premium EV brand make an expensive people mover?
MPVs in the West have largely died out from their hay day in the 90s. Nowadays referred to as ”Soccer Mum Vans,” they don't have the swankiest of images. In China, there is a smattering of low-end MPVs for sale but most of the action in this segment happens at the top-end.
MPVs are mostly statement vehicles, a sign of wealth and success; they're chauffeur-driven rides of the wealthy. My experience living in China for the past decade, the absolute epitome was the imported Toyota Alphard.
With Toyota's reluctance to embrace the EV revolution, Chinese premium EV brands, like Zeekr, are eyeing the luxury MPV space as a chance to charge big money and show off their tech and quality nouse.
The large grille, a mainstay of the luxury MPV space, is perhaps a necessary evil. Behind it 154 programmable dot-matrix LEDs dubbed “The Spring of Light.” Distinct square LED daylight running lights, a break from the EV norm of LED Light bars.
It's a big square front end, with deliberate and unapologetic styling. It's a brutal-looking thing. But there's something quite cool about that, especially in all-black.
The side profile is long, square, and functional. Darkened pillars give the roof the illusion of floating, with some choice of chrome accents down the side, including the door handles.
Thankfully the door handles are normal door handles; Unlike so many EVs that try to create new intricate ways of opening a door, confusing every passenger you have.
The whole rear is cleaved in half by its chrome belt line. A huge rear windscreen gives gobs of rearward visibility. Something you'll need in this 5.2-meter long MPV. The rear end carries over the styling cues from the Zeekr 001 with its fin design in its rear LED light bar. The rear-end styling isn't as abrasive as the front-end and offers a clean look.
The interior of the Zeekr 009 boasts premium materials that solidify its status as a top-notch vehicle. From the abundance of Nappa leather, micro suede, and metal touch points, to the borrowed styling cues from the Zeekr 001, such as the steering wheel and gear selector, this vehicle exudes class.
The ambient lighting, which primarily resides in the rear, is a deliberate styling choice rather than an ambitious soft under-glow.
All seats are comfortable, with multiple options for heat, ventilation, massage, and adjustment. However, it's the second row that truly shines. As a luxury MPV, the second-row seats are essential, and the Zeekr 009 delivers plenty of room and adjustment options.
In fact, the layout of the three rows is incredibly well thought out, with even the third row providing ample space while still allowing for a trunk space of 37 liters with the seats up and a cavernous 2979 liters with the third row down.
Entertainment in the rear is delivered through a roof-mounted 15.6 LCD screen controlled by a remote. While it may seem archaic, it makes sense given the amount of legroom in the second row.
The first and second-row seats also boast headrest speakers, bringing the total speaker count up to 20 for the super-powerful Yamaha system.
The second row is truly the place to be with its HDMI connection for screen mirroring, roof-mounted camera for conference calling, pull-out solid metal tables, and built-in 60W fast charging for each seat.
Overall, the Zeekr 009's interior is classy, comfortable, and functional, with a particular focus on the second row to deliver a luxury MPV experience
Battery, Range, Charging
The Zeekr 009 is available in two trims: the WE Edition and ME Edition.
The Zeekr 009 is positioned as a premium vehicle, but its pricing is surprisingly reasonable compared to the Toyota Alphard in China, which commands a price of between $121,000-134,000.
One of the major selling points of the Zeekr 009 is that it is the world's first vehicle to be equipped with CATL's Qilin battery, which offers a 13% increase in power compared to a pack of the same size filled with Tesla's 4680 cells. CATL Qilin is an advancement in the cell to pack packaging rather than cell chemistry. But it offers impressive gains.
DC fast charging is of course available and quoted at 10-80% in 28mins.
Upfront the driver is greeted with a 10.2-inch digital instrument panel and a 15.4-inch central LCD touchscreen which together with the rear screen is powered by a Snapdragon 8155 CPU.
The central infotainment screen is snappy and well laid out. However, there is no English UI, but you can't blame Zeekr for that, especially when it's highly unlikely the 009 will be released in Europe.
There's a 5G connection, plenty of USB-C connections, and a wireless phone charger. All pretty standard tech on premium and even mid-level EVs in China nowadays. I do wish there was a HUD, but it's not a dealbreaker. A voice assistant is also included, but again in China, this is a somewhat standard affair.
In the second row, you'll find Zeekr's smart bar, a 3.4-inch circular LCD panel on the door that controls the third zone A/C, as well as capacitive touch buttons for the rear windows and panoramic roof shade.
Zeekr's Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) is powered by the Mobileye Supervision full-stack ADAS solution. While they have promised a more advanced ADAS suite called the Zeekr Autonomous Driving (ZAD) that can be added for a one-time fee, it is not yet available. The ZAD promises to provide exceptional ADAS capabilities for complex driving scenarios.
Currently, the Zeekr 009 comes standard with a level 2 ADAS system that includes Lane Keep Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), as well as Zeekr's Highway Autopilot (ZNP).
The ADAS sensor array includes seven 8MP cameras, twelve ultrasonic radars, one milliwave radar, and four 2MP cameras for the 360-degree camera system.
The Mobileye Supervision solution is vision-based, which means that the Zeekr 009 does not have LiDAR. All the data collected by the sensors is processed by dual Mobileye EQ5H chips that deliver 48 TOPs.
Driving & Performance
For an MPV, the Zeekr 009 has a ridiculously powerful dual-motor drivetrain. Delivering 400kW (544hp) of power and 686Nm (506ft-lbs) of torque to the pavement; it smashes 0-100kph in 4.5s.
While it's unclear why an MPV needs this level of power, it certainly adds some fun to the driving. The Zeekr 009 can come to a stop from 100kph in 36.9m, which is impressive, but the sheer mass of the vehicle is felt during heavy braking.
Driving dynamics are nothing to write home about, as expected, but it delivers a comfortable ride thanks to its air suspension and CDC. While this sort of vehicle is not ideal for high-speed cornering, the tires do a commendable job, but no matter what physics cannot be overcome. This is very much a comfortable point-and-squirt kind of speed. Slow in, fast out.
Ultimately, the Zeekr 009 is designed to deliver comfort to the person in the back, most likely the "Big Boss." The rear seats are feature-packed, relaxing, and remarkably comfortable, making them perfect for long chauffeured journeys.
Would I buy a Zeekr 009? I'm not wealthy or important enough to warrant a luxury chauffeured ride, but if I were, I'd take the Zeekr 009 over the Toyota Alphard any day of the week.
However, the decision isn't as simple as that. In my city, the Alphard still reigns supreme as the go-to MPV that screams "I've made it." Even though the Zeekr 009 is a superior product with a lower price point, those with seemingly endless pools of money aren't price sensitive.
But in larger cities where getting a license plate for an internal combustion engine is expensive and difficult, the Zeekr 009 may be a popular seller.
In my city, I think I'd still be a maverick for choosing it over the Toyota Alphard. But I'd be right, they'd be wrong. And I'd have $40,000-50,000 in my back pocket, a better vehicle and a big smug smile on my face.