Fancy a low-cost electric car? So far, the Dacia Spring has been the cheapest fully-fledged offering on the UK market at just over £14,995. It is not yet known where prices will start after the facelift. In China (where the Spring is built), however, there are even cheaper electric models.

For example, the Changan Lumin, a three-door city car with four seats. It is based on Changan's Epa0 platform and is significantly smaller than a Fiat Panda: 3,270 mm long, 1,700 mm wide and 1,545 mm high, with a wheelbase of 1,980 mm.

Gallery: Changan Lumin

It has been on sale since 2022 (only in China), and as of this month, prices have been reduced by over £850. The cheapest version, the Sweet (with a declared range of 96 miles in the CLTC cycle), costs 37,900 yuan, or about £4,200 at today's exchange rate. Let's look at this in detail.

As of March 2024, the price list of the Changan Lumin starts at 49,900 yuan, which is the equivalent of around £5,500. As already mentioned, the basic version with a 41 PS motor and a 12.92 kWh battery has been discounted by 12,000 yuan (approx. £1,300) and now costs £4,200; the other, slow-charging Sweet version (the one with a range of 130 miles) has been discounted by 8,000 yuan (approx. £900).

The price reduction is less generous for the two fast-charging models: the Fragrant version with a range of 127 miles and the Honey version with a range of 187 miles have been discounted by 5,000 yuan (£550). All versions, with the exception of the 96 miles Sweet version, also receive a free charger worth 3,288 yuan (£360).

Changan Lumin

The interior of the Changan Lumin

The design is striking, with rounded lines on the outside and a similarly cheerful style on board. On the dashboard we see two screens, both in colour: one for the instrument cluster and a 10.25-inch touchscreen for the infotainment.

The Lumin has a front synchronous electric motor with permanent magnets powered by a lithium iron phosphate battery and has a top speed of 63 mph in all versions. With the latest update, the AC charger on board has been increased from 2 to 3.3 kW (the Lumin can charge from 30 to 80 per cent in 35 minutes via DC).

The Changan Lumin's main competitors are the Chery QQ Ice Cream, the Lingbox Uni and the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV. These are all names we don't recognise in Europe, but we shouldn't forget that "cheap" electric cars are also on the rise here.

The new Renault Twingo and the Volkswagen ID.1 are expected in Europe by 2027; cars that are expected to cost around £17,000, a far cry from the price of the Changan, but which will be a breakthrough for our market. However, if they were imported and adapted to European standards, the £4,200 of the Changan would be impossible to maintain.

Gallery: Changan Lumin