China is positively overrun by mini electric vehicles at the moment, as a consequence of the success of the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV. Since its launch two years ago, the little tyke has become the bestselling EV in China – battling the Tesla Model 3 and Y at the top of the global standings in the process – and spawned a heap of copycats, including the Chery QQ Ice Cream. That’s ironic, given the QQ name’s infamous history.
Anyway, there’s a new version of the QQ, called the Wujie Pro. Wujie is Mandarin for “unbounded”, which should give you a hint as to the car’s remit. Yes, this is an Ice Cream with a longer range – much longer, in fact, as it has more than doubled to an impressive 408 km, up from a minuscule 170 km maximum.
Despite its range being identical to the eQ1, the Wujie Pro gets a slightly larger 40.3 kWh lithium-ion battery. A smaller 30.6 kWh unit is also available, delivering a claimed range of 301 km. It should be noted that Chery typically lists figures from the old NEDC cycle, so real-world range is likely much lower.
The larger battery sizes also allow the Wujie Pro to offer more than three times the Ice Cream’s power, though it’s only gone up to a maximum of 70 kW (95 PS) and 120 Nm of torque, so don’t go expecting Porsche levels of performance from this rear-engined, rear-drive two-door.
The 30.6 kWh version is even less powerful at 55 kW (75 PS), although the torque output is inexplicably much higher at 150 Nm. Chery claims an acceleration time of 4.8 seconds (under six seconds with the 75 PS motor), but it’s only from zero to 50 km/h, and while the Wujie Pro can reach 100 km/h, its top speed is just 125 km/h (120 km/h with the 75 PS version).
Both variants support DC fast charging of an unspecified output, filling their batteries up from 30 to 80% in half an hour. The 30.6 kWh battery, on the other hand, can accept up to 3.3 kW of AC charging which takes between six to ten hours to top it up, while the 40.3 kWh unit can be charged in under seven hours using a 6.6 kW charger.
The Wujie Pro is more than just an Ice Cream with a bigger motor and battery – the entire car has been redesigned, although it retains an all-aluminium construction. The design is much edgier and less cutesy, with “Thunder Tomahawk” T-shaped head- and taillights that stretch the entire height of the front and rear ends, plus a downturned centre front air intake and a large skid plate-style rear bumper insert.
Along the side, the upper and lower window lines intersect to form an X-shaped C-pillar and a prominent rear spoiler, while the flush pop-out door handles are also fitted. There are a number of crossover-style features, including roof rails and Citroën C4 Cactus-style bumps along the rockers; these, together with the bumpers, get contrasting colour highlights. The flat-faced turbine-style wheels measure 16 inches in diameter.
The interior has also received a comprehensive makeover, sporting a clean horizontal dashboard and full-width air vents that sit above it. Behind the two-spoke steering wheel lies a seven-inch digital instrument cluster, but it’s the massive “floating” touchscreen next to it that dominates the cabin, measuring between 10.25 and 12.9 inches across.
Running on a Qualcomm 6155 quad-core processor, the infotainment system supports WiFi and 4G connectivity, offers voice control and Gaode and Tencent navigation and will even let users karaoke and browse Douyin (the original Chinese version of TikTok) using the big screen, presumably while charging. The car is also available with a “540-degree” camera system, combining a conventional 360-degree camera setup with a forward-facing 180-degree camera to enable users to “see through” the bonnet.
Despite the diminutive size, the car is also relatively fully-featured in terms of safety. Unlike the Ice Cream, the Wujie Pro gets dual airbags and stability control as standard. What’s more, range-topping models come with a few driver assistance systems such as forward collision warning (no autonomous emergency braking, unfortunately), lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, lane change assist and a door opening warning.
One thing you should know is that the Wujie Pro remains tiny, measuring just 3,402 mm long, 1,680 mm wide and 1,590 mm tall, with a 2,160 mm wheelbase. By comparison, a Perodua Kancil is only seven millimetres shorter and has a 120 mm longer wheelbase; had the Chery been 200 mm narrower and just two millimetres shorter, it would fit within current Japanese kei car size regulations.
Introductory pricing ranges from 79,900 yuan (RM52,600) for the base 30.6 kWh model to 101,900 yuan (RM67,100) for the top-spec variant with the 40.3 kWh battery. Buyers can pre-order their cars through a “crowdsourcing” model by paying a 999 yuan (RM660) deposit, entitling them to several benefits such as a mystery gift, a “lifetime warranty”, a year’s worth of car washes and free roadside assistance.
The Wujie Pro will likely continue to be a China-only offering, but Malaysians can expect to get the equally minuscule eQ1 soon after Chery gets its local relaunch this year. As mentioned, that car gets the same 408 km range using a 38 kWh battery and the QQ’s less powerful 55 kW (75 PS) motor, and it could be priced well under the RM100,000 mark.