Skip to main content

‘Experience Entire Authentic Friendliness’ with the Zinoro E1, BMW’s X1 EV Chinese rip-off

The Chinese auto industry is confusing to outsiders for lots of reasons.

It abounds with more or less obvious rip-offs of other cars and brands unknown to anyone not residing in Mainland China. Now we can add one more noggin-scratcher to the mix: Zinoro, BMW’s Chinese market brand.

Actually, if you go to the Zinoro website, the URL reads “Zhinuo”, but the branding reads “Zinoro”. So we’re not sure which one is the final name. For now, we’ll go with Zinoro.

The Zinoro E1, based upon the BMW X1 just debuted at the Guangzho Motor Show. And it looks nearly indistinguishable from the headlights back from its BMW cousn.

While it might look the same, there actually are some important differences between the two cars, not to mention the brand slogan, “Experience Entire Authentic Friendliness,” which stands in stark contrast to BMW’s “Ultimate Driving Experience.”

The biggest difference between the X1 and the E1 is the powertrain. The Zinoro E1 is an EV powered by a lithium iron-phosphate battery pack. They don’t have quite the energy density of the more popular lithium nickel-cobalt mix, but at least they wont kill quite as many pandas, as they are less toxic to manufacture.

Unfortunately, that lower energy density does result in pretty anemic performance. The electric motors max power output is about 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. That sounds okay, but the top speed is limited to 80 mph … 80! My editor, Nick Jaynes, throw a baseball faster than 80 mph and he has arms like an eight-year-old girl.

Still, that low top speed may not matter that much for the average Chinese customer. This is meant to be a city car. That means it’s going to spend most of the time at speeds below 40 mph.

Speed isn’t the E1’s only issue, I’m afraid. Range isn’t great either. Zinoro claims the E1 will only go 93 miles on a single charge. That really does limit the car’s ceiling to being a city runabout.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of this car has nothing to do with its engineering. BMW itself will not have much to do with this car – or the Zinoro brand, aside from loaning technology. Instead, the majority of the load will be borne by established Chinese automaker ‘Brilliance’.

This type of partnership might represent a step forward for Chinese carmakers. Before just very recently, Chinese auto firms were relegated to producing blatant copies of western cars.

With this sort of setup, though, western automakers can turn a profit off of Chinese research, and Chinese companies gain access to a wealth of western automaking information and engineering experience that can, in turn, be used to complement Chinese production expertise.

If that’s the case, the future of Zinoro will be worth watching, even if only to laugh at its wacky slogans.

Peter Braun
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Peter is a freelance contributor to Digital Trends and almost a lawyer. He has loved thinking, writing and talking about cars…
Tesla Model 3 vs. Hyundai Ioniq 6: Which electric sedan is best?
Front three quarter view of the 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6.

There are finally some more electric sedan options. For years, the Tesla Model 3 was really the only good electric sedan that comes at a reasonable price -- until, Hyundai recently launched the Ioniq 6. The Ioniq 6 certainly takes some cues from the larger Ioniq 5, but is smaller and sleeker, with a design seemingly inspired by the Porsche 911.

But the Tesla Model 3 is still clearly an excellent option for those looking for an electric car, and who don't want a larger crossover. Which is better? Here's a look.
The exterior design of the Tesla Model 3 and Hyundai Ioniq 6 is quite different. If you've seen a Tesla car before, then you'll immediately recognize the Model 3 -- it looks largely like a slightly different version of every other Tesla (except the Cybertruck).

Read more
Scout Motors Electric SUV: rumored price, release date, design, and more
Scout SUV Teaser

There's another electric SUV on the way, and this one comes with a familiar name. Volkswagen is reviving the classic Scout name for a new electric SUV that's billed as being an "RUV," or a rugged utility vehicle. And, it could well prove itself as the best electric SUV in its price range, when it does finally come out.

The new EV isn't due out for quite some time, but there's already a fair bit that we know about it. Curious to learn more? Here's everything you need to know about the upcoming Scout SUV.
There's very little we actually know about the Scout SUV so far, but we do know a little about the eventual design. A few teasers for the upcoming vehicle have been released, showing sketches of both the SUV and the accompanying pickup truck, along with what's presumably the front of the SUV -- though in a dark environment, with little detail.

Read more
Volkswagen ID.GTI concept is another icon reimagined as an EV
Front three quarter view of the Volkswagen ID.GTI concept.

Volkswagen reinvented one of its most iconic models with the ID.Buzz, a modern, all-electric homage to the classic Microbus. But that's not the only fan favorite vehicle currently in the automaker's catalog.

Debuting at the 2023 Munich Auto Show, the Volkswagen ID.GTI concept aims to do for the Golf GTI hot hatchback — VW's signature performance car — what the ID.Buzz did for the Microbus. VW claims a production version has already been given the green light, although it won't say when it will appear.

Read more