This is the new Jiangnan U2, an interesting new Chinese electric car with a daring design and a very low price. The U2 mixes elements of an hatchback and an MPV. It has a two-color paint job and the wheels are pushed out to the corners as far as possibly possible.
Jiangnan Auto is a storied name in the Chinese automotive industry. They are a relatively small player but they have been around since the early 2000’s. In 2010 they were taken over by Zotye, which went bankrupt in 2021. Jiangnan is probably best known for the license-build Jiangnan Alto. They also produced cars for Zotye’s short-lived Traum brand. For the last couple of years we didn’t hear much from Jiangnan Auto and the company seemed dead. But in China, no car maker ever really dies. And now Jiangnan is back with the new U2. As far as we can see, Zotye is still the legal owner of Jiangnan, so perhaps Zotye itself is working on a comeback too.
There are some nice design elements like the round headlights capped in square units, the MPV-style windshield situation, the aero wheels, and the pop-out door handles. Jiangnan will sell five versions of the U2: the U2 150, the U2 300, the U2 400, the U2 400S, and the U2 400 Pro. Offering so many versions of an already cheap motor vehicle is typical for smaller Chinese car makers.
Details on the battery pack are sketchy. It is a lithium iron phosphate battery for either 305 km CLTC ot 406 km CLTC. The company didn’t disclose the size of the battery yet. We do know more about power. The U2 is front wheel drive with the motor over the front axle. Buyers can choose between 55 kW/120 Nm and 80 / 160 Nm kW. Top speed is 135 km/h for both versions. Size: 3840×1742×1545, with a 2521 wheelbase and a 1188 kilo curb weight. The U2 is classified as a five-seat vehicle.
This pretty white example with cool stickers on the doors was seen in a shopping mall. In China, many car makers have shops in malls. The U2 stood in front of a Peacebird clothing shop. Peacebird (太平鸟) is one of largest fashion brands in second- and third tier cities. The company was founded in 1996 and is based in Ningbo. Go to any shopping street or mall in a smaller Chinese city and you’ll find a Peacebird. But they are rare in the big cities, unfortunately.
The Jiangnan U2 is priced between 58,800 – 99,800 RMB, or 8,635 – 14,656 USD. The most expensive version is the 400 Pro, which is also the car on the photos. It has a claimed CLTC range of 400 kilometers and the 80 kW motor under the hood.
The interior is functional and a little funky. Check the orange detailing in the door handles and air vents. She seats are in fake white leather and very flat. Jiangnan follows the square-shaped steering wheel trend with a unique two-spoke design with a round pod with buttons on each side.
The drive selector is mounted on the steering wheel column.
A letterbox instrument panel with the most important information. It has 254 kilometers of range left.
Need apps? Jiangnan got you covered. Ans look at the slider on the right side of the screen. This is just the top of of. All the trending apps are on available, like Douyin (Tik Tok), QQ Music, and Bilibili. You never get bored in a U2.
The rear bench is a s flat as the front seats but it seems wide enough for three fellows and the floot it totally flat so lots of legroom too.
Luggage space is reasonable for a car in this segment.
Note the lane-assistant sensors in the mirrors.
The order book for the Jiangnan U2 is open right now. But without exact details on battery size I’d wait a bit before I sign my order. I will update this article when more info comes available, which I think will be soon. The U2 is a kind of basic electric car that is most popular in smaller cities, like Peacebird fashion shops, so that’s probably where most of these will be sold. In any way, it is great to see another car brand returning with an affordable electric car in China.
Is Jiangnan JAC?
JAC is JiangHUAI
Jiangnan is owned by Zotye, the guys who ripped off the Porsche Macan and a few other cars
After parent holding Tieniu (Tech-New) Group went bankrupt and Zotye sold off a lot of assets, it now seems saved by a Shenzhen based investment company, that also saved the Pang Da car dealer group a few years ago.
As far as I can find out, two Zotye factories remain. The main location is Yongkang, Zhejiang. Currently, the old Zotye T300 seems to be back in production, but only for export to the Middle East.
The other factory is in Chongqing. It was always leased from the local authorities, and now they’ve joined in Zotye’s rescue. There seems to be technical cooperation with the city (the Bishan district authorities), who will help fund some new NEVs. The Jiangnan U2 is the first of those. Chinese analysts expect Chongqing’s Bishan district to become a Zotye shareholder once the reorganization is completed.
Chongqing city has been very busy lately saving its car manufacturing industry. It participated in the rescue of Zotye, in the reorganisation of Lifan (with Geely), BAIC Yinxiang (now BAIC Ruixing, I believe) and Jinbei (with Xinyuan/Shineray). Is the city looking to develop a Hefei-style NEV manufacturing hub?
IIRC the Jiangnan Alto was still available to the public (albeit not sold through normal channels) up until 2018, when it couldn’t meet China-5 emission standards and road-legal production halted. Autohome still has dealership listings for new cars up until 2013, while customers for the last batch had to travel in person to the factory in Jiangsu. IIRC the final cars were built with single-point injected 800cc engines, and most of the cars had already been destined to live out their lives as unlicensed old-man-happy cars.