Chinese $8,681 EV Has 190-Mile Range, But Mind-Numbingly Slow

  • Nick Jaynes has worked for more than a decade in automotive media industry. In that time, he's done it all—from public relations for Chevrolet to new-car reviews for Mashable. Nick now lives in Portland, Oregon and spends his weekends traversing off-road trails in his 100 Series Toyota Land Cruiser.

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Americans have widely come to believe, thanks to the likes of Tesla, that electric cars are inherently fast. That’s because Tesla packs its cars with huge battery packs, powerful electric motors, and software designed to let loose onboard electrons at virtual light speed.

  • New subcompact BYD e1 features a relatively large 32.2 kilowatt-hour battery pack, good for a 190-mile range.
  • However, it can only do 0 to 31 mph in 5.9 seconds, making it unbelievably slow.
  • It’s priced starting at the equivalent of $8,681.
  • Since it went on sale earlier this year, more than 1,157 Chinese consumers have purchased an e1.

This isn’t necessarily the case for the rest of the world. Take the Chinese brand BYD’s latest subcompact electric vehicle offering the e1 for example. It’s powered by a surprisingly large 32.2 kilowatt-hour battery pack (about half the entry-level Model S’ battery pack capacity), which is good for 190 miles per charge. Plus, it can be recharged from 30 to 80% in just 1.5 hours.

Weirdly, though, BYD engineers married this large battery pack to an absolutely puny 45 kilowatt electric motor. Although it churns out 60 horsepower and 81 pound-feet of torque, which isn’t nothing, it can only push the e1 from 0 to 31 miles per hour in 5.9 seconds. For reference, the aforementioned Model S 75D can do 0 to 60 mph in 4.0 seconds. So, not only is the e1 slow by EV standards, it’s slow by mule or oxen standards, too.

BYD’s e1 has a 32.2 kilowatt-hour battery pack. But it can only achieve a 0-31 mph run in 5.9 seconds. | Photo: BYD

 

Thankfully, the tiny but cheery EV is nearly as inexpensive as it is slow. Pricing starts at the equivalent of $8,681 and ranges up to $11,579. This makes it perfect for a Chinese buyer who spends their entire commute in crawling stop-and-go traffic and doesn’t want to spend much on a four-door EV.

“There can’t be many of those,” one might think. Well, surprisingly (or not — I really can’t decide) BYD has already managed 1,157 sales of the e1 since it went on sale. Given the size of the Chinese auto market, that’s not a lot. It’s also not nothing – meh.

BYD is expected to try to break into the U.S. market in the coming years. However, it’s unlikely it would ever bring the e1 to the States, where large and ludicrously quick EVs reign supreme. And, honestly, thank goodness for that.


About the Author

  • Nick Jaynes has worked for more than a decade in automotive media industry. In that time, he's done it all—from public relations for Chevrolet to new-car reviews for Mashable. Nick now lives in Portland, Oregon and spends his weekends traversing off-road trails in his 100 Series Toyota Land Cruiser.

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