The Chinese car industry is well ahead of American and European brands in this growing tiny EV segment.
Don’t worry if you’re not so familiar with Chinese car brands as we’re about to take you on a little tour of the country’s adorable micro EV city cars. And when I say micro, I mean it. This newly unveiled Changan Lumin Corn EV 128 inches long, 67 inches wide and 60 inches tall, with an urban-friendly wheelbase of 77 inches. That’s 2.2-inches shorter than a classic Mini’s.
Changan Automobile happens to be one of the “Big Four” state-owned carmakers in China, next to the perhaps better known SAIC Motor, FAW Group and Dongfeng Motor trio. According to Chinese sources, Changan’s continuous growth led to 2.3 million sales in 2021, about 1.2 million of which came through its own car brands. Changan is no AMC.
The Corn is part of the new Lumin line of Changan, based on their EPA0 platform and Avatr Technology, co-developed with Huawei and battery provider CATL. At launch, according to Car News China, the Lumin Corn will be available with either a 12.92 kWh or 17.65 kWh battery pack, putting its range between 96 and 130 miles. Later on, Changan will also offer a 27.99 kWh battery with a healthy 187-mile estimate.
The front-wheel drive Lumin Corn has two motor options, the base at 30 kW (41 hp) and the sportier one at 35 kW (48 hp). The hotter motor equals to 1977 Autobianchi A112 or 1983 Fiat Panda 4×4 output levels, with the additional benefit of electric torque delivery.
Available in seven chic pastel colors in the domestic market, the fairly well-equipped Changan Lumin Corn is yet more proof of the Chinese goverment’s effort to promote efficient means of daily transport. Its competitors include two Chery EVs, the QQ Ice Cream and the eQ1 Ant, as well as the futuristic Baojun KiWi and China’s best-selling electric car, the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV. Weirdly enough, this vehicle also made it into the European Union via Lithuania, where it is assembled from kits as the Freze Nikrob.
With two doors, four seats, 14-inch tires and a curb weight of 1,851 pounds (840 kg), the Corn weighs nearly half of a Honda e, Japan’s much desirable city EV that will only go seven miles further on a charge than a Changan Lumin Corn. Of course with the Honda e being a global car, it might just also be a touch safer than a mighty Changan EV.