Chinese clones are not exactly rare in the electric vehicle sector. We saw a copycat of Lit Motors’ bike last year and just yesterday we reported on Faraday Future, a China-backed company, accusing NIO, another China-backed company, of cloning its design.
But this latest example goes a few steps further and completely copied the Volkswagen e-Up electric car.
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CarNewsChina spotted a new Low-Speed Electric Vehicle (LSEV) at the 2017 Jinan EV Show this week.
LSEV are quite popular in China, but the Weikerui V7 caught the publication’s attention because it looked exactly like the Volkswagen e-Up down to a very similar logo.
They plan to sell it between 20,000 and 25,000 yuan ($2800-3610 USD). It is equipped with a lead-acid battery enabling up to 120 km of range (~75 miles) and a top speed of 50 km/h (31 mph), according to the company.
If it was only that, it wouldn’t be too bad since it’s only a pale LSEV version of the e-Up, but they are actually planning a full EV version of the car for about 35,000 yuan ($5060) after subsidies, according to CarNewsChina.
The real e-Up (right picture above) is available in China for 268,800 yuan ($38,800) without subsidies since it’s being imported.
Despite the inevitable drop in quality and reliability with the clone, it would be hard to compete.
We are talking about something more than just copying the design. Almost every body panel and part look reengineered from the original e-Up – combined with the logo, it makes it look like an attempt to confuse people and make them think it’s a Volkswagen.
We always say that competition is great for the electric vehicle market and that the goal is to steal market shares from gas-powered cars, but somehow I don’t think the same principle applies to this particular case.