The recent IAA 2017 show in Frankfurt was all about carmakers talking about electrification and showing off electric concepts. Everyone’s fear is to be left behind, if we are truly heading into an electric era. And who can blame them? This morning we read about Dyson, a company known for fans and vacuum cleaners, preparing a ground-up electric car for 2020.

But electric cars are expensive, right? Not always. Its performance is quite some way from a Tesla, but the Baojun E100 is priced at just RMB35,800 (RM22,769) in China after national and local subsidies. Baojun is a brand of GM’s Chinese joint venture, SAIC-GM-Wuling, and the E100 is its first full EV.

On July 10, SAIC-GM-Wuling started limited pre-sales of the E100 in Liuzhou, Guangxi. More than 5,000 people registered for the first 200 vehicles. Another 500 units were made available from July 22, with sales initially limited to Guangxi.

The E100 is powered by an electric motor that produces 110 Nm of torque and 39 hp (29 kW) of power. It can travel up to 155 km on a single charge, making it decent urban commuter. The lithium-ion battery pack can be fully charged in 7.5 hours, and the E100 is capable of harvesting energy through a regenerative braking system.

To give you some perspective, the just-unveiled second-generation Nissan Leaf‘s motor is rated at 320 Nm and 148 hp (110 kW). The mass market Nissan EV has a driving range of 400 km in Japan’s cycle and 378 km in the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC).

But the Baojun is a tiny Smart-style two-seater with a wheelbase of 1,600 mm, and 110 Nm from rest should give it enough poke it the city, where its turning radius of 3.7 meters would also prove to be useful. Max speed is 100 km/h, which means the E100 can venture out of the inner city and on to highways.

The E100 has independent front suspension and single-arm rear suspension. Standard features include ABS with EBD, an electronic parking brake, parking sensors, Isofix mounts for child seats and a pedestrian alert system. There’s also WiFi and a seven-inch screen on the dashboard. The premium Zhixiang variant adds on touchpad, air filter and keyless entry.

What do you think of a cheap little EV like this one to get people started on electric cars? Sure, the lack of space and range means that it’s not car for all situations, but I reckon it could work well as a second car, one to make short trips in.

I’d imagine that something like this, at this price, would fit into my life very well. The MRT station is one km away, and round trips to downtown KL are below 20 km. Many of our trips are to malls, which have charging stations. The only stumbling block is that I don’t have a porch to charge the car. What about you?