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Electric cars in China

Look out Tesla, SAIC's $4,500 electric car takes China by storm

Marketed as 'commuting tool,' Hong Guang Mini outsells the Model 3

The Hong Guang Mini EV's convenience and low price have made it one of China's bestselling "new-energy" vehicles. (Photo by Shunsuke Tabeta)

BEIJING -- On the showroom floor of a SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile dealership in Chongqing, a salesman enthusiastically recommended the Wuling Hong Guang Mini EV, an electric car that has quickly won over Chinese drivers since its nationwide launch in July.

The boxy compact lives up to its name, measuring less than 3-meters long and 1.5-meters wide, yet can still accommodate four people. The price starts at 28,800 yuan ($4,460), though the most popular model, with air conditioning, goes for just over $5,000.

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