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Weird Alibaba: Check out this $1,100 ‘street legal’ 3-wheeled electric flatbed truck

The biggest downside to all of the cool and wild electric vehicles I regularly find as part of the Awesomely Weird Alibaba Electric Vehicle of the Week column is that most would never be street legal. But this fun-looking little flatbed trike truck seems to have solved that problem, at least in name only.

The vendor calls it a “Special 2 person street legal small electric car,” which I’m starting to think is more of an ironic name than anything else. Kind of like how the tallest dude in your crew is nicknamed “Shorty.”

Let’s break it down.

First of all, there’s definitely only one seat in this “2-person” vehicle. Perhaps calling it a two-seater might be accurate in its domestic market, but based on the average American butt I see these days, that ain’t happening stateside.

Next, I don’t know where this thing is street-legal, at least not outside of China.

And finally, calling this a “car” is playing fast and loose with the English language. In fact, I’m pretty sure “special” and “electric” are the only two accurate descriptors in the entire name.

electric dumping trike

The inaccuracies don’t even stop there.

The product’s description goes on to describe it as a right-side drive, though I’m pretty sure that seat is fairly equidistant from both sides of the vehicle.

Plus the fact that the ad touts included parts like “brakes” as notable features has me all kinds of worried.

But hey, I’m the type of guy that will literally buy an electric mini-pickup truck from China, sight-unseen. So I’m not exactly risk-averse to these kind of things.

The saving grace for this “small electric car,” and what I love about finding these fun little utility EVs from China, is just how customizable they are. The factory will basically build them to order for you.

Options for motors range from a dinky little 1,000W motor to a fairly respectable 7,000W motor.

The battery system voltage can range from 48V to 72V. And the weight rating can be anywhere from 1,000 to 3,000 kg (2,200 to 6,600 pounds). I’m hoping that last one involves more modifications than a sticker change.

The top speed is also adjustable from 15-25 km/h (9-15 mph), which is to say from super slow to just slow. I guess when you’re hauling a load of bricks on a flatbed tricycle, you don’t exactly want to go wheelin’ around a turn at breakneck speed. They call it “breakneck speed” for a reason, mind you.

With an entry price of just $1,100, it’s hard to not do a double take here. That’s surely the weak little 1,000W version that crawls along at 9 mph. But the fully loaded model appears to be closer to $3,000, which still isn’t that bad. I don’t think I’ll ever find a deal like my $2,000 electric mini-truck again though, but I can keep searching!

electric trike truck

Before I go, I should point out that despite the tongue-in-cheek nature of this column, these utility trikes are actually highly useful vehicles. In fact, where I live in Tel Aviv, I see them all the time being used for jobs like produce delivery to local markets, refuse hauling, handyman vehicles, etc.

They seem to actually slip into some odd vehicle category here that classifies them as something like a street-legal mobility scooter, but I’m not entirely sure how that works.

Obviously your regulatory climate will vary by country, but I can all but guarantee they aren’t street-legal in the US as they don’t carry the necessary NHTSA approvals for US import, at least not if destined for road use.

What you do on your own property though, that’s between you and your gods. Oh, and the Zhengzhou Zhongxiang Machinery Equipment Company, apparently.

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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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