26 Chinese EV’s that Tariffs will keep away from US.

May 24, 2024
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The previous tariff on EV’s from China was an added 25% tax to “level the playing field for American-made EV’s”. That tariff was raised to 100% as of May 2024, so I wondered what kind of cars are being made in China, that would be doubled in price by this tariff increase?

I am really amazed at the variety of cars I found from China that I didn’t even know existed. I have just written an article about BYD after I saw on the news that they have recently passed Tesla as the largest manufacturer of EV’s on Earth (to see that article, click here). I just wanted to see which BYD’s people were buying, and if they might be coming to the US soon. I was very surprised at the variety of cars that BYD makes.

During my search to see all the different models that BYD makes, I kept coming across other interesting EV’s from car companies that I had never even heard of. The world population is roughly 8.1-Billion, and the population of China is about 1.4-Billion, so…more than 1 out of 8 people in the world are Chinese. The last four decades have seen China expanding and diversifying their manufacturing base. Not only did millions of Chinese employees want to buy new EV’s, but China also wants to export EV’s to the entire world.

Tesla and Rivian do not currently make a small EV, and the most affordable small American EV is the Chevy Bolt. The Tesla Model-3 and the Rivian R3 are not “large”, but they are larger than the Bolt, and both are significantly more expensive. The BYD “Seagull” 5-door hatchback EV has been mentioned on the internet as a small EV that US manufacturers fear. The Base model is supposedly $12,000, but once you add shipping plus the 100% $12,000 tariff, you arrive at $26,000 plus state and federal sales taxes.

And it doesn’t end there. Ever since the Covid economy, car sales have been down, so US car dealers have only been ordering the more profitable “fully loaded” models, which could tack on another $10,000 of markup to the Seagulls price ($36,000?). Some EV’s have qualified for a $7,500 tax incentive, but that might only apply to US-made EV’s.

BYD has a bus and heavy truck manufacturing facility in California, and they are looking at locations in Mexico to have an EV factory that is a part of the NAFTA zone, for selling no-tariff EV’s to North America.

There is a US presidential election in November (six months from now), that could affect changes to NAFTA, or affect EV purchase incentives, and EV policy in the US. And its not just the president, because congress also has many seats up for election this November.

Regardless of the politics, I thought our readers might enjoy seeing some of the EV’s from China that I came across recently. Remember…there are many more models that I simply don’t have the time or space to list here! So, let’s get to it…

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Li Auto Mega

This EV looks like its the type of vehicle that will be in futuristic movies. It has a drag coefficient of just 0.215 cd, which is exceptionally good. However, you can’t see from the picture with nothing next to it to show the scale, but it is very LARGE (17.3 feet long). One of the benefits of a large EV is that there is plenty of room for a large battery pack, and their biggest optional pack is claimed to provide 710 km (441 miles). Their big pack is a 102.7-kWh from CATL.

The list price is ¥560,000 “Yuan Renminbi”, and at todays exchange rate of $0.14 to 1.0 RMB, it would be $78,400 in USD. ($1.00 = ¥7.24 RMB)

Li Auto is claiming they are selling over 8,000 of these per month.

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Nio Onvo L60

Nio is marketed as an upscale company, and they have a variety of vehicles that reflect that. Onvo is a new division of Nio. Since the Onvo L60 has a large rear hatch, it has been frequently compared to the Tesla Model-Y.

It uses a 900V system for snappy performance and rapid charging, BUT…the battery is leased as a service. The good news is that if you want to sell the car, the new owner gets a free battery when it eventually wears out, with no extra out-of-pocket charges, so “battery age” should not be a concern. You can buy the car, but whoever drives it must also pay a monthly lease on the battery.

The China price is $30,800 USD before shipping, tariffs, and sales taxes…

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Xping X9 van

Although there are some unusually-styled vehicles in China that might look a little odd to western eyes, I have been impressed by the appearance of many of the vehicles that they are now making.

The single-motor base-model X9 will use LFP cells from Eve Energy, with a battery capacity of 84.5 kWh. On the other hand, the all-wheel-drive version will use NMC cells from CALB, with a 101.5 kWh capacity. This larger battery is claimed to provide 429 miles of range per charge,

$53,500 for the base model…plus yada, yada, yada.

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eD1 Mini

This “truck” is tiny. I looked until I found a pic with the driver in it. It is not intended to drive on a major highway, and it only has a top-speed of 44-MPH. It’s battery is a tiny 10-kWh LFP that provides roughly 60 miles at 95V. There are similar models available like the Matrix Motor X2, and Derry Neomor D01, all using 13-inch diameter wheels. This model has two airbags.

Its hard to get price info on these that I can trust, but Micah Toll bought a $2,000 base model and added $1000 for the larger battery, plus $2000 for shipping (and waiting many weeks). He called it his F-1/50, and for that amusing story, click here.

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Geely Zeekr 001

The biggest EV car-maker in China is BYD by far, which we wrote about recently (to see that click here), but Geely is the second-biggest, and Zeekr is a recently-created upscale division of Geely. The Zeekr 001 is definitely a sports car, and as such it can be had with rear-wheel-drive, or AWD. In spite of it’s sporty nature, it is also a 5-door hatchback for practicality.

Depending on options, the price is roughly $37,000-$42,000, before shipping and tariffs, undercoating, extended warranty, delivery charge, his-and-hers cup-holders…etc

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Geely Zeekr Mix

I think this is a pretty good-looking van

This is a new model, but…it IS in production and it uses 800V. I haven’t found the price, but it’s so cool looking, I wanted to include it.

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Geely Galaxy E8

There is nothing odd about the Galaxy E8, and everything about it is mainstream. It looks like it could be sold anywhere on the globe by Honda, Toyota, or any other brand. Geely is owned by the same parent corporation that owns Volvo, so there is an existing dealer network in many countries that could easily carry the Galaxy G8.

If you ordered the 400V system, RWD, and the smaller LFP battery, the China price is an impressively modest $25,000.

There are many options, but the top-spec AWD 800V with the longer-range battery is advertised at $32,000. This is quite a value, and cars like this are why tariffs in the US were raised. If this interests you, but you want an SUV with a rear hatch and fold down rear seats for carrying cargo, they also make the Geely Atlas on the same platform.

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Smart #1

This EV is made by Geely in China, and they chose to use their SEA platform (which other models also use). The “#1” is made exclusively for the Smart company, which is a division of Mercedes Benz, with Mercedes creating the styling of the body. Smart is probably best known for its tiny gasoline car the “Fortwo”.

This creates a complex situation where I don’t know for certain how the new US tariffs will affect it, but I suspect US automakers don’t want it allowed to be imported into the US at Chinese prices. I included this because its so cool looking, and there is not much of a selection for smaller EV hatchbacks in the US. I like the Chevy Bolt, but offhand, I can’t think of any other US EV in this class.

I found it being sold in the UK for the equivalent of $46,000 USD (£36,000), and before UK tariffs were added, I suspect the Chinese price was 2/3rds of that? (of course some of the price is dealer markup).

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Changan Lumin

This car is really cute (yes, I know the image is CGI), and even with the low price of $5,500 USD, it needs all the help it can get. Top speed is 60-MPH (on a downhill), and if you get the “affordable” battery pack, it is listed as providing 90-miles of range (on a downhill). If you are looking for features, its own sales information calls it “minimalist” inside.

It does have a real hatch on the rear, but even with the rear seats removed, the cargo area is…minimalist. This 2-door claims to have two rear seats, but if you look at the pictures on the web, the only thing sitting in those seats will be two bags of groceries. If anyone gets this car, just remove the “rear seats”, if only to increase the grocery sack room.

Will we see ever these in the USA? The 2-seat Smart Fortwo is tiny, and it had to incorporate eight airbags to just barely pass the DOT crash-testing. The Lumin only has two air-bags, so I’m going to guess…no?

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Changan Qiyuan A07

I am including the A07, so you won’t think that Changan only makes small cute city cars like the Lumin. The A07 has a large rear hatch and fold-down rear seats for lots of cargo space.

The China price is roughly $23,000-$25,000, depending on options chosen.

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Wuling Bingo

The Bingo is a very cute car, and it reminds me of the 2001 Mini Cooper (which is actually made by BMW). It is a “city car” meaning it’s geared to only get you up to 60-MPH in order to make the most of its modest 40-HP FWD motor. The smaller LFP battery can provide 120-miles, in order to help keep the price down.

Based on the success of the Bingo, there is now a “Bingo Plus” that is four inches longer, has more power, speed, and range, making it the same size as the small Honda Fit. The Bingo Plus is $13,000, if you could buy it in China and find some way to get it to the US, then re-badge it as a “Ford Fest-E-va” before anyone sees it on the street.

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Wuling Mini E Cabrio

Wuling is partnered with General Motors (GM-China). They also also make an inexpensive city car that is smaller than the Bingo, and its called the Gameboy. For whatever reason, they also decided to make a convertible Gameboy, which they then called the Mini-E Cabrio (with a wheelbase of 76 inches).

Many city cars have tiny wheels and tires to help keep the price down, and…that means you have to really avoid potholes. There are a dozen ways in which this car shaves off features to help the price. One of them is that it has no trunk lid on the outside. This means if you want to access the storage space behind the seats, you have to unzip the cloth divider between the seats and the trunk.

If you could buy one straight from the factory with no tariffs or shipping, its about $14,000

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Leap Motors T03

Like most of the EV manufacturers listed above, Leap Motors makes a variety of vehicles, including a mid-sized 4-door sedan, and a 5-door SUV, but I’m showing their compact economy EV here because its interesting. Its uses a more realistic 15-inch wheel size, with short-sidewall tires for that “sporty look”

In order to get some kind of scale on these cars, The American Chevy Bolt is a small 5-door EV with a wheelbase of 102.4 inches, and the T03 shown here is 94.5 inches, or…8-inches shorter. Depending on options, the Chinese price is $9,400-$11,000

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Great Wall Motors, Ora Funky Cat

I love the name “Great Wall Motors”, and also that they chose “Funky Cat” for this cute car from GWM’s new “Ora” division. The Funky Cat has a wheelbase of 104.3-inches, compared to the 102.4 on the Chevy Bolt, so this 5-door hatchback is actually 2-inches longer, meaning that full-sized adults can ride in the back seats.

Again, if you notice the location of the rear edge of the rear door, it is very close to the rear window, which means the cargo space is minimal until you fold down the rear seats. I have actually seen a Chevy Bolt, so I would be happy with this amount of cargo space, since the back seat volume is actually very usable.

I like the style, and I’d describe it as a cross between the most recent VW A5 Beetle (seen here) and the 2002 Mini Cooper (seen here).

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Great Wall Motors Pao (and 7 other truck names)

Great Wall Motor also makes a 4-door truck of the common style, called the “Pao” (seen below). If you think it bears a vague resemblance to the well-regarded 2007 Toyota Tundra (seen here), you are not alone. When contacted and informed of this, the Chinese design team was “shocked…SHOCKED I say, that you would even imply such a thing!”

If you are curious about electric trucks from China, you can also Google the “Dongfeng Rich 6“, the “BYD Shark“, the “Geely Radar RD6“, the “Foton Tunland E5“, the “JAC Hunter“, the “Qinling Taga“, or the “Jiangxi Ruimai” (badged as an Isuzu in some countries). They all pretty much look the same to me…

The Chinese price for the base-model RWD with the smaller battery is $35,000 USD, before shipping and Tariffs. I suspect the other trucks listed are similar in features and price.

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Xiaomi SU7

This is not a hatchback, but the generously-sized rear trunk-lid does lift completely out of the way and the rear seats do fold down to provide a useful amount of cargo-space. Other than that, it is clearly styled as a sport-sedan, and in keeping with the form of most moden EV’s, it does have a significant “frunk” for additional storage.

If you are curious about the average persons taste in China, the SU7 model went on sale in December of 2023, and it has proven to be VERY popular. The Chinese price for the base model is $31,000 before shipping and tariffs.

The base-model SU7 accelerates from 0-100 km/h (0-62 MPH) in a snappy 5.3-seconds, and the more expensive top-spec SU7 does it in 2.8 seconds!

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MG Cyberster

MG in the UK used to make sports cars (Morris Garage), and they fell on hard times back in 2007. They did not have the millions needed to design an all-new electric sports car, and they were purchased by the Chinese “Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp” (SAIC).

The highest-spec AWD Cyberster can accelerate from 0-100 km/h (0-62 MPH) in a very pleasing 3.2 seconds. The more affordable RWD version can also achieve this in a brisk 5.2 seconds. The doors have a front hinge, and they lift straight up, rather than swinging out.

The Chinese price is listed as $45,000-$50,000, and the current price in the UK is £55,000-£60,000, ($70,000-$76,000 in USD, if purchased in the UK) which tells us a little bit about the current UK tariff on Chinese car imports (approximately an added 55% ?). To be fair, the tariff might not be that big and some of the price could be dealer mark-up…

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GAC Aion S-Max

The Front-Wheel-Drive GAC Aion S-Max doesn’t have a frunk, and I suspect that by rotating the motor and inverter assembly up into that area, they can shorten the overall length of the car a few inches. The rear trunk is a useful size with fold-down rear seats. If you really “need” a hatchback, the GAC Aion does have a “Tesla Model Y” version that they literally call the “GAC Aion Y-Plus“.

The front seats also slide forward far enough that they can fold flat, allowing two occupants to sit in the rear seats and stretch their legs out. Or possibly sleep on them with an air-mattress, when camping.

GAC is claiming their latest “Graphene” battery can fast-charge from 20% to 80% in less than ten minutes, and they are currently on sale in Mexico, among several other countries.

The lowest-spec Aion S-Max has a Chinese price of $21,000 (before shipping and tariffs), and they have already sold 182,230 units in 2023

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Baojun Yep

This car is cute, and it has a wheelbase of 83-inches. A “city car” might typically use 40-HP and 12-inch wheels, and this model provides 67-HP and uses a more realistically-sized 15-inch wheel. Top speed is limited to 100-km/h (62-MPH) for certain registration breaks, and battery-range is roughly 180-miles from a 28-kWh pack.

If you are familiar with the popular Suzuki Samurai (also sold as the Jimney), they have a wheelbase of 80-inches, so…the Yep is 3-inches longer. However, the Samurai became famous for being a true 4WD that was compact and light, while the Yep is currently a RWD. Both of them use 15-inch wheels.

The Chinese price is $14,000 before shipping and tariffs. The stock Yep has two airbags, and more airbags might need to be added for it to be imported into the US.

I would expect shipping to a US port to be in the neighborhood of $3,000, with the current 100% tariff to add another $14K, so that’s roughly $31,000 to be the first on your block to drive one on US soil. For comparison, the 2023 price on a 4WD gasoline Samurai/Jimney is roughly $41,000

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Dongfeng, Forthing Leiting

This vehicle was designed to have several variants, including gasoline-powered, a hybrid, and also the pure EV shown here. The Gasoline or hybrid variants are named the T5 EVO. The EV’s Leiting name means “Search” in Norwegian, and Norway is a strong customer base for any EV that’s imported there, due to very cheap electricity and significant EV-purchase rebates.

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Chery iCar 03

The iCar 03 is advertised as a sporty off-roader, and its similar to the popular 2020 Ford Bronco. It’s available as a rear-drive or 4WD, and is listed as a 5-door SUV.

The Chinese price for the base model is $16,000, plus shipping and tariffs, and also the many possible upgrades.

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Hongqi E-HS9

Hongqi is an upscale vehicle manufacturer in China, and the E-HS9 is technically a large SUV with a rear hatch. It has six seats, with the two fold-down rear seats being normal-sized. The middle two seats and two fronts seats are very plush with lots of head-room, and leg-room.

The similar H9 is a gasoline-powered sedan, with the E-HS9 here being a pure electric AWD. In spite of its heft, the available 550-HP accelerates the E-HS9 to 100-km/h (62-MPH) in 5.0-seconds. The Chinese price before tariffs and shipping is $80,000-$110,000, and Xi Jinping (the Chairman of the entire country) has been seen being driven in one. I’m going to guess that his chauffeur’s name is…Tim?

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Hongqi E-QM5

If you want the prestige of owning an electric Hongqi, but you can’t quite afford the E-HS9, you could check out the boldly-styled E-QM5 for $32,000-$37,000 (plus, you know…shipping and tariffs)

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Hongqi S9

If you are single and only need enough cargo room for a couple bags of groceries and some gourmet cat-food for Mr Whiskers, you might take a look at the Hongqi S9. Although it isn’t a hatchback, it can still get you to the grocery store and back at a very quick 400-kph (249-MPH).

If you find yourself in the wrong lane to pull into the local organic “Trader Cho’s” grocery, you can accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 1.9 seconds to get in front of traffic and change lanes, when the light turns green. I’m told they are only making 99 of these at $1.8-Million USD each, and that, my friend…is a whole lotta Yuan.

To be honest, it is a gasoline-electric hybrid, so it really shouldn’t be on this list of EV’s at all, but…part of the reason I am writing this article is to help our readers understand how expanded and sophisticated the Chinese domestic market has become.

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BYD Ocean-M

We recently wrote about BYD, the biggest Chinese EV manufacturer (click here). This might be considered a “Hot Hatch” because it is a rear wheel drive 2-door hatchback, using 18-inch wheels and short-sidewall sports tires. The designer that BYD hired for this project previously worked at Lamborghini, and I do see some vague similarities.

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Fang Sheng Bao Super 9

BYD wants to show-off how large and successful they are, and one of the ways to do that is by creating several new division brands for different customer segments. Feng Sheng Bao translates to “Formula Bao”, and Bao is a term that is synonymous with the finer things in life.

The 4-inch tall windshield tells me that this might just be a design study for car shows. That would allow car buyers to tell the company what parts of the design look good to them, and to also show off what the company is capable of, to create a “halo” effect (Although, the McLaren Elva and Aston-Martin Speedster are also both roofless designs, so this may be real).

It uses a carbon-fiber body, and was designed by Wolfgang Eggert, formerly from Lamborghini and Audi. The extremely short windshield seems very impractical, but…there is ducting that will channel a “wall of air” straight up just in front of the windshield, and they claim this unique system actually works at high speed.

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What now?

If you start Googling “Chinese EV” you will find a lot more than the ones I listed here, so…if I can’t list them all, I picked out some that I thought would be fun, interesting, and informative. These companies are backed by the Chinese government, so they don’t actually need to make a profit. This means they are not going to go away due to “competition”. A few may die out, but their government will decide who stays and who goes, depending on sales from around the globe.

I think the EV’s from the US auto industry are overpriced, and they don’t have enough selection when it comes to entry-level small EV’s. To be fair, Americans bought only 23,200 Bolts in 2023, so there isn’t a huge demand for them (MSRP $27,000) at the current stable gasoline prices (roughly $3/gallon?).

The population of the US is about 333-Million, or roughly one American for every four Chinese. (population 1.4B), so when the Chinese government decides that gasoline will be expensive and electric cars will be cheap, that’s the way it goes. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, it was news to me, and I thought I should share this with our readers.

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Written by Ron/spinningmagnets, May 2024

Grew up in Los Angeles California, US Navy submarine mechanic from 1977-81/SanDiego. Hydraulic mechanic in the 1980's/Los Angeles. Heavy equipment operator in the 1990's/traveled to various locations. Dump truck driver in the 2000's/SW Utah. Currently a water plant operator since 2010/NW Kansas

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