Autocar Tests China’s Roewe E50 Electric; Says It’s “Really Rather Good”


Most vehicles from China are “write-offs,” meaning they’re subpar and will never make it to the US, so why care?

Well, that’s how Autocar approached the electric Roewe E50.  The thinking from Autocar probably went something like this:  This Roewe is one more vehicle from a Chinese manufacturer that will never be sold outside of China and it’s likely no good anyways, so why even review it?

Roewe E50 in Shanghai

Roewe E50 in Shanghai

Well, to Autocar’s surprise, the electric Roewe E50 was “really rather good.”

The Roewe E50 first appeared in concept form in 2012.  It entered the full production cycle in early 2013.

Typically, Chinese electric vehicles are subpar, but not the Roewe.

Here’s some of what Autocar had to say in its review of the E50:

“The Roewe E50 is a city car-sized four seater whose clean lines and unfussy looks inside and out complement the electric drivetrain.”

“It is powered by a 71bhp motor and 18 KWh battery pack. It has a claimed 120-mile range if you drive at a consistent 45 mph and a top speed of 81mph.”

“A 30-minute charge from a standard socket delivers a theoretical 90-mile range, while a six-hour charge tops the battery out.”

“The interior is unfussy but practical. Excellent packaging means there is a decent amount of room, even in the back. Two six-footers can comfortably sit one behind the other.”

“On the move, the car delivers an involved and refined drive. Performance is good, the steering feel pleasantly engaging and the balance especially decent for a car with such a short wheelbase. Despite being small and weighing over a tonne, it feels nimble.”

“The ride on the short but surprisingly bumpy test track we sampled it on was well controlled. Only the sharpness of the response from the brakes is sub-optimal but, all in, it delivers more than enough to be a pleasant city companion.”

That’s about as glowing a review for a no-frills electric that we’ve yet to see come from Autocar.

E50 Up Close and Personal

E50 Up Close and Personal

In the all-important “should I buy one” category, Autocar says this:

“It’s only on sale in China, but if you live there – and more specifically in Shanghai – the national and local government incentives to do so are compelling.”

“The Chinese government sees electric car technology as an opportunity for its homegrown car makers to leapfrog some of the established competition, as well as reduce pollution. Therefore, it wants Chinese buyers to favour such products, and offers incentives of around £7000  to buyers.”

“In Shanghai, this price reduction is complemented by a further £2500 incentive plus the waiving of an £8000 licence plate fee.”

“As such, a Shanghai buyer can have a Roewe E50 for around the same money as a conventional supermini.”

Unfortunately, Roewe has no intention of exporting the E50 electric and has set an annual production volume at only 1,000 units.  But if this electric is as good as Autocar says, then why not pump up production and ship some here?

Source: Autocar

Categories: General


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14 Comments on "Autocar Tests China’s Roewe E50 Electric; Says It’s “Really Rather Good”"

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Okay, China. You’ve met the i-MiEV in performance and range. Keep improving, then we can talk.

I’ll give them this, it’s better looking than any small EV that’s ever made it over here yet. Take another look at the i3 (or Leaf, or iMIEV) compared to this.

This is indeed a move in the right direction , Chinese auto makers are the one’s to watch. Very interesting to see that they have also chosen to use LiFePO4 battery technology. Once more Chinese car manufacturers will use this battery technology prices will come down and make it more accessible to an ever wider market.

Would be a nice alternative to the Smart ED.

ya… No

“A 30-minute charge from a standard socket delivers a theoretical 90-mile range.”


I’d like to see this “standard socket” that can deliver ~30kW. Lol. 😛

And 120-miles with an 18kWh battery? Assuming 16kwh of usable energy (pretty aggressive) that’s 7.5 miles/kwh. Even babying it at a steady 45 mph, that sounds highly unlikely.

Put it through a real world EPA-type test and I’m sure that range will drop down to ~70-80 miles or less.

Video or it didn’t happen


Smart over this knock off

Only 1000/yr. This is not much more than a hand build prototype. However since they are doing such a good job, and the incentives make it competitive with similar sized/featured gas cars I expect they will be sold out all the time. China is getting very serious about pollution, and tackling it on all fronts. They have a very robust nuclear program, building conventional nuclear plants and R&D on advanced designs. China is the only country seriously developing the LFTR. Liquid Flouride Thorium Reactors are inherently safe, produce less than 0.1% of the radio-active waste of conventional nukes and the radio-active waste has to be stored for only 300 years vs 10,000 years. Thorium is literally free and the liquid design means it is impossible to have a melt down. Simple design (no control rods, naturally load following), shut down by turning off a cooling fan and gravity does the rest. See China is planning on shutting down all their coal generating plants and several major cities are making owing gas cars prohibitively expensive, so not only are there incentives that make EVs cheaper, ICE prices are going up. It looks like this company is off to a good… Read more »


“China is planning on shutting down all their coal generating plants and several major cities are making owing gas cars prohibitively expensive, so not only are there incentives that make EVs cheaper, ICE prices are going up.”

Well no.

China was shutting down small old inefficient coal plants. This s;owed dramatically in 2010 -11 most of them are believed to be closed now. Yet they have the air problems all over the news.
OTOH they have been building up their coal plants for 10 years. While they hope to reduce the future building of coal plants the plants they have built have a life expectancy of 40 years and they expect to continue building them. (As noted at a reduced rate.) It is unlikely China will close a significant number of coal plants in the next 30 years or so.

Also incentives for EVs ran out in Dec. 2012. New incentives were expected last June.
I have not heard of them being restored as yet. I expect Insideevs will have an article when they do.

I would like to know who did the exterior design work for this EV. It’s VERY well done for its class. Why can’t the Leaf look like this?

“…£8000 licence plate fee.”

Yes, this is designed to discourage purchasing polluting ICEs in the city.