China sure does love it some electric cars. So much so, in fact, that they're willing to disregard appearance entirely and show up en masse to purchase one that's a mix between a golf cart and a deflated balloon.
Say hello to the Baojun E100, the first electric vehicle from SAIC-GM-Wuling, one of General Motors' Chinese joint ventures. Its single electric motor produces about 39 horsepower and 81 pound-feet of torque. Its diminutive battery offers 96 miles of range, thanks in part to that low output, and it'll charge from empty to full in about 7.5 hours.
Don't expect to fly down the highway in a hurry, though. Its top speed is limited to 62 mph, which is just enough for expressways. Its small size confers serious urban-driving benefits, though -- its turning radius is about 12 feet. A, this ain't.
Since it's a GM vehicle, it comes equipped with everyone's favorite high-tech creature comfort -- a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. It also comes with a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, and on higher trims, it packs a touchpad and keyless entry. Even though you can see every inch of the car from the driver's seat, it's still got parking sensors, too.
Sure, it's just about as ugly as a car can get, but the price is so right that it's hard to pass up. After national and local EV subsidies, its base price is just 35,800 yuan ($5,325). Five thousand bucks for a brand new electric car with parking sensors and Wi-Fi. Wowza.
The Baojun E100 is so popular, in fact, that more than 5,000 people tried to get their hands on the first production run of 200 vehicles. Another 500 will end up on sale this week, but that still won't be enough to satiate demand.