How China is making Mini EVs for just $900?

The electric cars market is expanding rapidly over time, and mass production is at its peak. Electric cars have many benefits, including less co2 emissions and no fuel consumption. The demand for EVs is increasing rapidly and especially nowadays with the crazy fuel prices.

The Chinese market, which is the biggest automotive market in the world, is surfing deep into this market and changing the way things are done. Most of the manufacturers producing electric cars are going for a really high price tag, which many people consider as a barrier to switch from fuel cars to electric cars.

Today we are gonna look at how one of the Chinese manufacturers was able to produce an EV that will cost you just about $900. It is cheap to the extent that you won’t believe that it is working!

Please welcome with us the Changli EV…

Why is it cheap?

First, let’s split the car production costs into two main categories. When they decide to produce a new car, all car manufacturers will have first to develop the design, choose the right technologies, spend a lot of time on the research and development part, and engineer every single aspect of the car.

Source: wardsauto

This is actually the first part and the highest part in the production cost of the vehicle. Now the second part is what most people think of. It is the actual material and devices used in car production.

When it comes to big-name car manufacturers, they actually spend more on the first part of the formula. This means that the cost to develop, research, and engineer the concept of the vehicle will cost more than the actual parts and materials used in the production.

Source: Anadolu Agency

But in our case with Changli, they actually cut costs by focusing on the materials and parts, and ignoring the research part. And when talking about EVs, the most expensive part is the batteries.

Source: Jalopnik / YouTube

Batteries Cost

Changli solved this issue and cut more costs of the batteries by using lead-acid batteries instead of the standard and more efficient lithium-ion batteries. But why lead-acid batteries are much cheaper than lithium batteries?

Source: EDF Energy

The reason is with the actual chemical components that are used to produce the battery. Lithium costs more. It needs to be mined and manufactured to a purity level that costs a lot of money. While lead and acid, on the other hand, they are both cheap.

Driving Motor

And when it comes to the driving mechanism, this is the surprise! The Changli is actually using a washing machine motor to power its EV. Yes, it is exactly a motor that you could find in many washing machines.

Source: AEG Spares & Accessories

And to power the motors used to drive the EVs, manufacturers need an inverter to convert the DC power output from the battery to AC power. So Changli again cut this cost and removed the inverter altogether, and used a DC motor instead.

The car also doesn’t include front-wheel brakes, and it just has rear-wheel brakes. Thanks to its lightweight, this EV will not need that extra front brakes.

Now that we have cut the cost down to about $900, what about the specs and the quality? 


This EV has three power options and could reach up to 25 mph speed and 40-mile range on one single charge. It also has some luxury features, like a back camera and a digital dashboard. 

Source: ChangLiEV

This EV has 5, 12 volts lead batteries that produces up to 60v in total. This is actually a very poor number compared to other EVs that usually range between 300 and 400 volts.

As we mentioned before, lead batteries are used in this car. These batteries have less capacity, are less efficient, and have a lower lifespan when compared to lithium batteries.

Source: Battery Direct

Having a lead-acid battery means that you shouldn’t be discharging it more than 50%. This could harm the battery severely, which is not the case with lithium-ion batteries that could be discharged up to 80%.

The car, in general, is of low quality to the extent that the battery casing is just a simple, low-cost cardboard sheet!

It also utilizes a cheap 1.6 horsepower dc motor that is usually used to power washing machines. This ridiculously low amount of power will never give you the feeling of a real car.


In the end, you are paying a very low price tag. It is just $900! We shouldn’t be even expecting to get what we get from this car. 

If you consider the price tag and the quality of the car, you actually have an excellent deal. But if you are comparing with high-quality, branded EVs, you are on the earth and looking at the moon.

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