A budget electric vehicle (EV) from China’s top automaker, state-owned SAIC Motor, is outselling Tesla in its home market and has jumped to second place in EV global sales.

The compact Hong Guang Mini EV sells for $4,500 (£3,200) helping it overtake the Shanghai-built Tesla’s Model 3 as the country’s most popular EV.

The cars, built as part of a joint venture with US car giant General Motors (GM), are marketed as “the people’s commuting tool”.

The tiny four-seater has a top speed of 100km/h (62mph).

It sold 25,778 models in China in January according to the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA). This compares to 13,843 for the Tesla Model 3. Sales for the second half of 2020 totalled 112,000, ranking second behind Tesla’s Model 3.

The Hong Guang Mini EV is now believed to be the second-best-selling electric model worldwide behind the Model 3.

While China has many small and cheap electric vehicles, the Hong Guang Mini is the first built by a major manufacturer potentially targeting an international market. Reports have linked it to a Latvian automaker who could sell a version of the car in Europe. However, the price is likely to be considerably higher due to European environmental requirements.