There’s no shortage of weird, funky, or wild electric vehicles on the Chinese shopping platform Alibaba. I’ve found some real doozies for past entries in this weekly column. But this week’s feature of an electric bus is particularly far-flung. A tiger-molded electric bus might prompt some to ask “Why….?”
But for me, the answer is simple. “Why not?!”
The tiger bus from the Shenzhen Aohu Electric Vehicle Company has a certain charm and artistic flair that we just don’t see that often in the West.
There was a time when American vehicle design was the height of high fashion. I’m talking late ’50s through the ’60s. Huge Cadillac fins. Bullet tail lights. Giant wings. Tri-five Chevies. The works.
But even back then, American designers weren’t as bold as Alibaba’s best. No one had the guts to go full tiger on the front end of the bus. No one until now, that is.
Because that’s exactly what we’ve got here. One electric bus with one majestic tiger front end. It’s fit for the Tiger King himself, shuffling mullet-bearing wildcat lovers/smugglers all over the deep south. Or wheeling a bunch of exploited youth volunteers around a Florida big cat rescue park. Or basically anything any self-respecting tiger-based entrepreneur can think of.
I mean, it’s a tiger-shaped electric bus with seating for 23 people. There are a lot of options here, folks.
Just don’t expect to go climbing any big hills with 23 souls on board. The tiger bus is powered by a measly 5 kW motor. That’s less than seven horsepower. With 23 passengers, I’m a bit worried about it traversing a speed bump without a few people having to get out and help push.
And of course, that low power also explains the low top speed of 30 km/h (18 mph). I’m not sure why they didn’t design it to go a bit faster. That tiger fascia up front is basically all crumple zone; you might as well use it!
By now I’m sure you’re curious to know how much the coolest bus this side of the G. W. Zoo costs. This bad boy comes in at an ultra-reasonable $16,000. That’s less than 700 bucks per seat, folks! I mean, I’d be crazy not to buy it at this price!
However, perhaps I shouldn’t jump the gun here. Where there’s one lovable animal-themed electric bus, there’s bound to be more…. right?
A quick search proves me correct. Apparently this is a weird theme in China, and there are even more options out there for the specific breed of folks that find themselves in that little sliver of overlap in the Venn diagram between animal lovers and bus enthusiasts.
I’m particularly interested in this dolphin option, though the Nemo bus is pretty neat too.
These buses simply leave me with so many questions. Why are there so many animal-shaped buses on Alibaba? Who the heck buys these things? How do you get away with a clear Finding Nemo rip-off? Who killed Carol Baskin’s husband? The answers to these questions and many more continue to elude us. The world simply may never know.
Ultimately, we can really only know one thing for sure.
No matter how hard you look, or how deep you dig, Alibaba will always be there to offer up the most awesome, weirdest electric vehicles anywhere in the world, ripe for the picking.
Oh, and that Carol definitely did it.
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