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Wuling Hong Guang MINI EV. Photo: GM

The hottest-selling electric vehicle on the planet isn't the Tesla Model 3 anymore. It was toppled in January by a pint-sized Chinese model called the Hong Guang Mini EV, reports China Daily.

Details: The four-seat city cars are flying out of showrooms thanks mostly to their irresistible starting price: $4,500, writes China auto expert Michael Dunne, CEO of the advisory firm ZoZoGo.

  • Customers have purchased 200,000 Hong Guang Mini EVs since production began last summer.

The success has surprised even its manufacturer, SGMW, a joint venture between General Motors, Shanghai Automotive Industry, and Wuling Motors.

  • They had anticipated selling about 3,000 a month, but in January sales topped 36,000.
  • It's tight for four, and clearly lags Tesla on battery range (105 miles) and performance (top speed is 62 mph). But its convenience and low price are appealing to Chinese consumers.
  • Buyers are mostly younger women in smaller cities, and the company is now marketing them not as cars, but more like designer clothing, a Wuling executive tells China Daily.
  • It has introduced fun new colors and also plans plans to unveil co-branded vehicles with big names like Disney and Nike.

Go deeper

Scoop: Biden eyes Russia adviser criticized as soft on Kremlin

Photo: Alexander Shcherbak\TASS via Getty Images

President Biden is considering appointing Matthew Rojansky, head of the Wilson Center's Kennan Institute, as Russia director on the National Security Council, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Why it matters: Rojansky has been praised for his scholarship on Russia and is frequently cited in U.S. media for his expert commentary. But his work has drawn criticism — including in a 2018 open letter from Ukrainian alumni of Kennan that blasted the think tank he runs as an "unwitting tool of Russia’s political interference."

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases hold steady at 65,000 per day — CDC declares racism "a serious public health threat" — WHO official: Brazil is dealing with "raging inferno" of a COVID outbreak.
  2. Vaccines: America may be close to hitting a vaccine wall — Pfizer asks FDA to expand COVID vaccine authorization to adolescents — CDC says Johnson & Johnson vaccine supply will drop 80% next week.
  3. Economy: Treasury says over 156 million stimulus payments sent out since March — More government spending expected as IMF projects 6% global GDP growth.
  4. Politics: Supreme Court ends California's coronavirus restrictions on home religious meetings.
  5. World: Iran tightens COVID restrictions amid fourth wave of pandemic.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Maryland lawmakers override Hogan vetoes of police accountability legislation

Marion Gray Hopkins with Coalition of Concerned Mothers speaks during a rally promoting police reform on March 4 in Annapolis, Maryland. Photo: Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Maryland's Democratic-controlled legislature on Saturday voted to override Republican Gov. Larry Hogan's vetoes of police accountability legislation.

Why it matters: Maryland is the first state to repeal its Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights, the Washington Post notes.