Wuling is considering offering a range-extender option for the Baojun Yep, which would provide the mini EV with the ability to get an extra 80 kilometers of range by refueling.

(Image credit: Baojun)

SAIC-GM-Wuling is considering a range-extender option for the Baojun Yep mini electric vehicle (EV), which went on sale only last month, highlighting a new approach to trying to address range anxiety among EV consumers.

Baojun will not offer an official extended-range electric vehicle (EREV) version of the Yep, but will consider offering a post-delivery range-extender option for the model, Zhou Xing, vice president of SAIC Wuling's brand division, said on Weibo yesterday.

"Because of the call from everyone, the team is looking into the possibility of putting a small generator in the engine compartment," Zhou wrote.

The option, which could cost about 2,000 yuan ($280), could hold four liters of gasoline and thus provide an additional 80 kilometers of range, according to a supplier proposal, he said.

The option is similar to a power bank for a cell phone and would additionally allow the vehicle to support external discharge capability, according to Zhou.

Zhou asked his followers on Weibo if they really wanted the option and if so, they would speed up the rollout process.

Consumers expecting the option can still buy the Baojun Yep now, as it can be installed after delivery, Zhou said.

It's not clear if Wuling's planned option complies with China's vehicle modification regulations.

SAIC-GM-Wuling officially launched the Baojun Yep on May 25, offering it in two versions with starting prices of RMB 79,800 and RMB 89,800, respectively.

Both versions of the model have a battery pack capacity of 28.1 kWh and a combined CLTC range of 303 km.

Baojun's idea to offer a range-extender option for the Yep underscores the appeal of plug-in hybrid or quasi-plug-in hybrid models at a time of transition to electrification in the Chinese automotive industry.

Among Chinese EV startups, (NASDAQ: LI) is known for its EREVs, which delivered a record 28,277 vehicles in May.

For comparison, (NYSE: NIO) and (NYSE: XPEV), which only offers battery electric vehicles (BEVs), have had weak deliveries over the past few months, delivering 6,155 and 7,506 units in May, respectively.

Their peer Leapmotor has abandoned its insistence on offering only BEVs, attracted by the larger market space.

On February 1, Leapmotor unveiled its first EREV model -- an EREV variant of its flagship SUV, the C11. The Leapmotor C11 EREV went on sale on March 1 and deliveries began in mid-March.

In May, Leapmotor delivered 12,058 vehicles, the fourth consecutive month of growth and well above the 1,139 units delivered in January.

($1 = RMB 7.1061)

Leapmotor delivers 12,058 units in May, higher-priced C-series dominate-CnEVPost