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Awesomely Weird Alibaba Electric Vehicle of the Week: A $500 self-balancing one-wheeled dorkmobile

I love electric vehicles as much as the next guy, and I’m particularly enthralled with personal electric vehicles. You know, the kind built for just one person: electric bikes, electric scooters, electric rideables, and such. I like to think I’ve embraced some of the more oddball designs out there, though I’m not sure I’ve faced anything as nutty as this self-balancing seated electric scooter.

But as seems to be the theme with this weekly column, I’m ready to jump in with both feet on what is most certainly one of the more unique Awesomely Weird Alibaba Electric Vehicle of the Week finds this year.

If there are any electric unicycle (EUC) fans out there, please don’t take this the wrong way. I’ve got no problem with EUCs. In fact, I’ve gone on my own EUC learning journeys and embraced them wholeheartedly with some fun reviews. But this thing takes the idea of an electric unicycle to the next level, and I’m not sure it’s a good level.

It basically adds a bicycle saddle and handlebars to the device. The bars don’t turn, mind you, but instead serve essentially the same role for your hands as the foot pegs do for your feet. Though they do appear to have a throttle, which I would imagine throws a wrench in the “lean forward to go forward” control mechanism of most electric unicycles.

And by adding those weird parts, this manufacturer has kind of flipped the script on what an EUC is meant to be.

The whole idea of electric unicycles is that they’re small and convenient to have around when they aren’t in use. The same little wheel filled with electronics that can disappear under a desk or in the back seat of even the tiniest cars also happens to be a fast and powerful commuting machine. That’s pretty awesome.

But when you go jacking around with it by adding seats, protrusions, and whatever the heck else they have installed on this thing – well, now I’ve got a problem with that.

A seat is one thing, and I’ve seen people pop a squat on their electric unicycles before. I’m not sure I’d go full one-wheeled electric motorcycle like we’ve witnessed in the past, but I get it. Why stand when you can sit?

Well, I guess leg suspension. That’s why.

But ride comfort aside, there’s just a bit too much going on here to make me think that this could ever turn into my daily method of transportation, and that’s coming from a guy who doesn’t drive a car because he gets around entirely by personal electric vehicles.

Now, I’m not so adverse to this thing that I wouldn’t give it the ol’ college try. But with a claimed speed of 15-30 km/h (9-18 mph) depending on which spec list on the page you believe, this isn’t the zippiest of EUCs on the market. There are plenty that could eat this thing for lunch.

And that tiny little 264 Wh battery seems rather paltry, though they say it can get up to 25 km (15 miles) of range. That’s likely sufficient, as if you need to go more than 15 miles, this probably isn’t your ride of choice.

But even as I pan it, there’s an odd curiosity building inside me. And with a price of just $561 plus another $300 for shipping, I’m finding it dangerously tempting to get one of these just for the heck of it. Hey, I’m the e-bike guy! That’s how I can justify such a frivolous purchase. I’ve got to be up on the latest gear, no matter how ridiculous or how likely to faceplant me into a career doing radio instead of YouTube videos anymore.

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Avatar for Micah Toll Micah Toll

Micah Toll is a personal electric vehicle enthusiast, battery nerd, and author of the Amazon #1 bestselling books DIY Lithium Batteries, DIY Solar Power, The Ultimate DIY Ebike Guide and The Electric Bike Manifesto.

The e-bikes that make up Micah’s current daily drivers are the $999 Lectric XP 2.0, the $1,095 Ride1Up Roadster V2, the $1,199 Rad Power Bikes RadMission, and the $3,299 Priority Current. But it’s a pretty evolving list these days.

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