Having spent a year now writing this Awesomely Weird Alibaba Electric Vehicle of the Week column, I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy discovering all sorts of unique Chinese design themes. I love seeing the way they tackle the same transportation problems we have in the West, yet often come up with their own unique solutions. And this week’s bizarre little electric golf cart is a great example of just how awesome that design can be.
Just like with many golf carts, it seems our Alibaba version here is meant more for cruising through a local community than actually ferrying bankers and CEOs around that giant waste of water and space they call a golf resort.
This little four-wheeler is a narrow vehicle and so it isn’t exactly brimming with extra interior room. It’s got seating for two adults sitting tandem, or perhaps four if they’re really petite.
Where you’d traditionally find a steering wheel, the designers seem to have decided that a pair of handlebars would be more appropriate.
I’m not sure I follow the logic, but just like the Eurythmics said, who am I to disagree?
The little rig comes outfitted with everything you’d need for cruising your local neighborhood. There are side view mirrors, an electronic horn, a full light package with blinkers, low gear for hill-climbing, parking brake, and suspension. There’s even a 1,000W motor, which translates into a full 1.3 horsepower. That’s multiple horsepower, folks!
Ok fine, it’s not particularly powerful, which might be why the little roadster only gets up to a maximum speed of 30 km/h (18 mph). But consider that the wheel track looks barely wider than a dinner plate, so perhaps a slower speed is the way to go. I’m not sure how well this thing would handle a hairpin turn, let alone a sand trap.
One of the more striking design decision is that massively angled windshield. Not only does that help improve the aerodynamics (which of course are critical at these blistering high speeds), but it also serves to shield the front bicycle basket from rain and keep your valuables dry – an important consideration in a vehicle with no doors or windows.
“Why does it even have a bicycle basket?” you may be asking yourself. Sure, it’s an odd design choice. But I imagine once you start using a bicycle basket golf cart for a few days, soon enough you’ll be asking “Why don’t ALL golf carts come with bike baskets?”
If that basket up front doesn’t offer enough storage for you, then check this out. I’ve saved the coolest design feature for last.
You see that rear bench seat behind the driver? It’s hiding a clever trick. It spends most of its time as an unassuming bench, simply hanging out and waiting for butts. But when duty calls, it springs to action for a whole different purpose.
The entire seat structure is hinged and flips forward, revealing a cargo bed in its place. How cool is that?!
Check out how well it works in the video below.
Sure, it leaves me with so many questions. What was in that giant box with a trapdoor cut in the bottom? Why did he just leave it on the side of the road? Did he know that guy that was walking by at the exact moment and hopped in, or it was it just a happy accident? What are the odds that this video is staged? Who can I even trust any more? Do pets have names for us, too?
The world is a confusing place.
But I feel like it would all be a little less confusing when viewed passing by at 30 km/h through the plastic windshield of a Chinese electric golf cart.
And fortunately for us, this isn’t some unobtainable electric car with dealerships marking up prices right and left. It’s actually surprisingly affordable at just $818!
Granted, that price doesn’t include the 60V batteries. Or the shipping to get it to your driveway halfway around the world. Or the import taxes and duties. But that’s what, like another $20?
Or perhaps several times more than the price of the entire vehicle, as I discovered when I bought my own electric mini-pickup truck from China last year.
But at least with this low price, there’s room to add on some up charges and still be well under the $7-10k that companies charge in the US for electric golf carts.
And I can assure you that you’ll have the most unique vehicle in all of the Del Boca Vista retirement community!
A quick note about not listening to me
Regular readers of this column will known that these pieces are largely written in jest, and primarily exist for us to explore the quirky and fun oddities found in the electric vehicle section of China’s largest online shopping network.
I’m not actually suggesting anyone go out and buy anything on Alibaba. While I’ve personally done it a few times, shopping on these types of networks can be a risk since it is often difficult to ensure you’re getting what you think you’re getting, not to mention all the surprising hidden fees along the way.
While several people have actually bought some of the wacky vehicles I’ve featured here before, purchasing something silly on Alibaba is only for the brave or the dense – not for the not faint of heart.
Unless you’re willing to gamble on something like this, perhaps just stick to window shopping while you let unqualified semi-professionals like me do the dirty work of harvesting and occasionally actually buying these funny little EV finds.
And if this hasn’t been enough for you, check out some of my other favorite Awesomely Weird Alibaba Electric Vehicles of the Week below:
- $1,800 electric motorcycle with only one wheel
- $1,000 four-seater electric boat
- $3,800 electric RV with three wheels
- $4,000 electric pickup truck
- $1,700 electric two-seater Jeep
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