The Chinese vehicle ChangLi S1-Pro does not appear among the vehicles entitled to circulation in Ecuador, since it does not have an approval certificate.
The cheapest electric vehicle in the world (USD 1,200) could not be driven in Ecuador, since this Chinese car did not appear in the list of approved models, according to data from the National Agency for Business (ANT).
However, the sale of the ChangLi S1-Pro model is promoted on social networks and websites in Ecuador.
I think I will order and insist on the request of William Lasso
The National Customs Service of Ecuador (Sena) has confirmed that it is not the only unit of this model to be imported into the country.
According to Senas, if a person or company tries to import a model without an approval certificate, such as the ChangLi S1-Pro, it will not enter the country’s customs and will be transferred to the country of origin.
Despite this, the page in Ecuador promotes the 2023 model vehicle at a price of USD 5,100 and sells the 2022 model for USD 3,000 per unit.
The website describes these vehicles as “low-speed electric scooters, also known as mini evs”, an abbreviation for ‘mini electric cars’ or small electric cars.
And it also offers a one-year warranty.
The director of the Ecuadorian Automotive Association (AEA), Manuel Murtinho, warns that the vehicle should not be imported by dealers in Ecuador.
If someone buys this car abroad, they could not make it through the carrier, since it weighs 490 kg and the maximum weight to be imported for this trip is 100 kg.
Why are the cars not tested?
Until March 2023, the vehicle approval certificate was an accompanying document that was offered when each car was registered.
However, the Senate Foreign Trade Committee (Comex) passed resolution 005-2023 on April 12, 2023 and changed the rules.
The new senate decided that the homologation document is a mandatory voting document, previously required to approve the sum of the car, explains the former director of ANT, Ernesto Varas, who was in charge of the agency when the decision was passed.
Varas says that during his tenure he learned of the cases of vehicles without the approval of the certificate that was registered, which is why he issued an official letter to the Decentralized Autonomous Government (GAD), which has the authority to register.
“We reminded them to demand the approval document, because if they didn’t have it, we could remove the registration of the matches,” he adds.
Risk not proven
The case of the “world’s cheapest” Chinese car is not the only one that has set off alarm bells in Ecuador.
During 2022, 190 unapproved vehicles entered Ecuador and, in the first half of 2023, 20 cars were imported without an approving certificate, says Murtinho.
The AEA spokesman adds that among the unproven models are high-end models and declares that none were imported by commercial houses that are representative of brands in Ecuador.
“In the Association we suspect that foreign sub-distributors” imported these vehicles, says Murtinho.
All vehicles circulating in Ecuador must have an approval certificate, which is a requirement to obtain registration and therefore license plates.
The certificate of homologation was issued by ANT after verifying the manufacturer’s guarantees, the ability to maintain spare parts and service, explains the executive president of the Association of Automotive Companies of Ecuador (Aeade), Genaro Baldeón.
In addition, the car meets the minimum safety requirements established in the INEN technical regulation, adds Baldeón.
The minimum security elements required for control are:
Baldeón explains the 5,386 vehicle models in Ecuador that have been tested in the region of circulation.
An updated list is on the ANT website where you can check what these models are, adds the Aeade spokesperson.
Baldeón explains that the approval regulation has some exceptions that do not require a certificate. For example: diplomatic vehicles, cars from trains and ambulances were imported.