SAIC-GM-Wuling is allowing consumers to pay only for the vehicle body and rent the battery when they buy the Mini EV, lowering the purchase threshold to RMB 19,800 ($2,860).

(Image credit: SAIC-GM-Wuling)

SAIC-GM-Wuling is taking a page from 's book by allowing consumers to buy only the vehicle body and rent the battery when they buy its hot-selling Hongguang Mini EV, even though the model doesn't support a simple battery swap like Nio models.

The automaker offers this purchase option for five versions of the Hongguang Mini EV, with the lowest-priced version costing consumers an initial payment of just RMB 19,800 ($2,860) and a monthly battery rental of RMB 198 for five years thereafter.

Under the regular purchase option, this version of the Hongguang Mini EV is priced at RMB 32,800.

Of the other four higher-priced versions, two of them have a vehicle body price of RMB 29,800 and the other two are RMB 33,800, with battery leasing prices ranging from RMB 198 to RMB 558.

Hongguang Mini EV price under battery rental

ModelHongguang Mini EV QingsongHongguang Mini EV Macaron ShishangHongguang Mini EV Macaron ZhenxiangGameboy WanleGameboy Wanle
Range120 km120 km170 km200 km300 km
Retail Price (RMB)32,80043,80049,80055,80067,800
Vehicle Body Price (RMB)19,80029,80029,80033,80033,800
Battery Rental (RMB)198198298358558
Battery Rental Term5 years5 years5 years5 years5 years
Final Payment (RMB)1,9800000

This is similar to the battery rental service BaaS (battery as a service) offered by Nio, except that Nio owners who choose to purchase a car based on BaaS do not get ownership of the battery unless they pay a one-time fee to buy it out.

The cheapest Nio model is currently the ET5 sedan, which costs RMB 328,000. For consumers who choose to purchase based on the BaaS plan, the price will start at RMB 258,000 and the monthly battery rental fee will start at RMB 980.

Nio initially did not allow battery buyouts for BaaS-based car owners, but launched the service in April 2022.

Under Nio's plan announced at the time, vehicle owners will be allowed to terminate their BaaS lease agreement if they decide to back out.

These users will be able to get a brand new battery at the Nio service center, and in the case of a standard range battery pack, they will have to pay RMB 70,000 for the pack and a service fee of RMB 3,000.

If it is a long-range battery pack, then the cost includes RMB 128,000 for the battery and RMB 3,000 for the service fee.

SAIC-GM-Wuling is a joint venture between SAIC Group, General Motors and Liuzhou Wuling Automobile, headquartered in Liuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, southwest 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.

It is one of the largest NEV makers in China, but sales in the first four months were down from a year ago.

From January to April, SAIC-GM-Wuling sold 111,604 NEVs, down 15.9 percent from 132,658 units in the same period last year, according to data released yesterday by the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA).

That makes SAIC-GM-Wuling the only one of the top five manufacturers of NEV sales in China to see a decline in sales of such models.

($1 = RMB 6.9338)

Full CPCA rankings: Top-selling models and automakers in China in Apr