Electric vehicles have been growing thanks to the Tesla boom, and China has been quickly picking up the pace in developing to beat Elon Musk at his own game (even if he doesn’t care about the competition). As a result, many Chinese brands are creating EVs of different shapes and sizes for different demographics.
Wuling started the craze of affordable electric mobility with the Mini EV. First launched in 2020, it was designed as a tiny box on wheels with a basic battery motor. As simple as the blueprint sounds, nearly 400,000 units were sold in China a year later, beating the domestic sales of Tesla’s Model 3 and Model Y combined.
With over one million units sold as of April 2023, it was crowned as the best-selling EV in the country. Other Chinese manufacturers wanted to take SAIC’s winning formula and lightly copied its homework, and Chery was one of them. Can the Jetour Ice Cream wow the average consumer more than any golf cart disguised as a passenger vehicle?
One way I can describe the Ice Cream is that it is a head-turner. Funnily enough, its dimensions of 2,980mm long, 1,496mm wide, and 1,637mm high are slightly larger than Wuling’s original, yet it’s still bite-size (pun intended) compared to any car on the road.
I’ve brought it to two Sunday car meets, and enthusiasts left and right started ogling at its tiny package and taking pictures like it’s a legendary or exotic car. Even in everyday commutes, almost every passerby who has seen this has called it cute or asked about the specs and the price.
One unforgettable memory was, while I sat idle in a supermarket parking lot, a random person came up to the driver’s seat wondering if the Ice Cream had air-conditioning inside. I let out some cool air from the AC vents to confirm for the curious stranger.
You would expect the power output to be minuscule for a super small commuter, and you’d be right. The 13.9kWh battery pack can propel the Ice Cream at 27hp and 85Nm, which are more than enough figures for its size. While eco mode is enabled by default from startup, anyone can unlock its full power by switching it to sport mode (if they dare).
The Ice Cream can achieve 170km of range at full charge, but this can decrease depending on electronic usage and driving style. Averaging its usage on busy days, I arrived home with around 30% of usable power left.
Speaking of charge, plugging it into an electrical source is a breeze as it uses the GB/T type standard among other Chinese cars. For Type 2 chargers, an adapter is included in the package, which came in handy at an SM charging station. After about three hours and 13 minutes, the Ice Cream at 43% topped up to 87%.
For those without a Wallbox at home, the Ice Cream has its own GB/T cable charger that can be plugged into a 220V outlet like any mobile phone. Unfortunately, the heavy downside is the charging brick that causes sagging, and eventually, unplugging from the power source due to its weight.
A Band-Aid solution would be to lay the cable and the brick onto an elevated surface or, in this household, branches of a potted plant.
A bubbly and adorable exterior can only go a long way and couldn’t mask the Ice Cream’s shortcomings. First things first: Do not expect maximum passenger comfort. The steering wheel is not movable whatsoever, relying on the four-way manual adjustable seats to position the driver in place.
As someone nearly 6ft tall, I had to sit quite close to the wheel, similar to the posture of a truck driver. At the very least, the adjusted front seats make the rear area accessible for two rear adult passengers with surprisingly ample legroom.
The ride—to put it generously—is not suited for our roads, especially along EDSA or C5. Every bump can rattle and disrupt any conversation, and cornering with the 145/70-series tires with 12-inch wheels is recommended at low speeds if you want to live another day.
As for infotainment, the Ice Cream in China includes an eight-inch touchscreen display for its upper trim levels.
However, there is no infotainment system in the sole local spec model, and in its place, two rubber hooks are installed to fit your smartphone in landscape mode instead. While it’s a clever workaround, it doesn’t help when your device overheats due to an untinted windshield.
As a result, I was stuck with the instrument cluster for all vehicle info, including audio sources. Navigating the screen was confusing at first, and it took a while to get used to and differentiate between the steering-wheel controls and the two extra tactile buttons below the display.
Chery’s attempt at beating Wuling at its own game resulted in a package focused on looks and size, and the Jetour Ice Cream could definitely be a hit for those looking for a cute way to go electric. However, its novelty will wear out once you get to drive and live with it for more than two weeks (and as soon as more Mini EVs and their clones hit the market in the not-so-distant future).
In the meantime, savor the petiteness for P699,000, but prepare your back for a new posture and your patience for countless questions from curious strangers.
JETOUR ICE CREAM
|Single permanent magnet synchronous motor
|Single-speed direct drive
|2,980mm x 1,496mm x 1,637mm
|Small size, decent power delivery for its class, and roomy rear legroom.
|Awkward driving position, lack of infotainment system, and atrocious ride quality.