Weird Alibaba: Try not to vomit while driving this electric rolly car around

When we find electric vehicles for this weekly column on China’s bottomless pit of a shopping megasite Alibaba, we generally look for something that looks weird, fun, or at least remotely useful. This week, I’d say we nailed the first two. I’m not quite sure what to call this thing, so I guess I’ll have to go with the name given to it by its creators: the Happy Car.

Unless you have a stomach of steel, though, you might not be the happiest rider after a few revolutions in one of these.

I’ll do my best to describe the Happy Car accurately, though I’m going into this just about as ignorantly as you are.

What we have here is a giant tube with a big tire around each of the two ends. It’s something like a monowheel that you’d sit inside of, except that it has two “wheels” to prevent the ol’ fall-over-and-scrape-your-face-off problem of monowheels.

There are two bucket seats with four-point harnesses to keep victims riders strapped in. You may be wondering why the vehicles need a four-point harness, which is a fair question for something that looks like one of those rides outside of a dilapidated Kmart that give you 30 seconds of bouncing on a plastic unicorn for a quarter.

Well, the $3,300 Happy Car is a bit more action-packed since the rider’s capsule is free to rock back and forth inside the main barrel. That means if you accelerate or brake quickly enough, you can actually go inverted or completely flip over.

alibaba rolling car

The round shape of this odd electric vehicle is, of course, a result of it being designed to roll around like a barrel. But I imagine that the engineers were likely clever enough to use it for another purpose. I’d bet dollars to donuts that there’s a convenient drain plug at the bottom so that it’s easier to remove the vomit and hose it off after each ride.

Don’t believe me about how stomach-turning this must be? Take a look at the video below (skip to about 22 seconds in for the driving footage) and tell me that doesn’t look vomit-inducing. Oh, and maybe turn down your speakers too.

Somehow, this contraption is actually powered by a pair of dinky little 300W electric motors. That’s barely more than the motor in an EU-legal electric bike.

But maybe the power is so low because the Happy Car just doesn’t go very fast.

The speed is listed in meters per minute, which is the first clue that you won’t be going anywhere quickly. But if you don’t mind cruising at 40-60 meters per minute (1.5-2 mph), then this could be the perfect ride for you and a friend.

Just make sure you and your friends aren’t taller than 185 cm (6’1″), as that’s the height limit for riders. There’s also a weight limit of 200 kg (440 pounds), though it’s not clear if that’s for one rider or both.

Top comment by Karl Gesslein

Liked by 5 people

I'm sure one of these will make an appearance at Burning man next year. Love the articles Micah, read every one. Keep it up.

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If the rolling around and flipping over wasn’t enough stimulation for you, the Happy Car comes with a complete light package and customizable sounds to create a multipronged assault on the senses.

Of the many weird Alibaba EVs I’d featured over the past couple of years in this column, I’m not sure this one makes the top of the list for ones that I want to wait in line to test out.

I’ll save that for someone braver and less prone to upchucking than myself.

But I can still admire just how weird Alibaba’s catalog of wacky electric vehicles has become. Gotta love the free market!

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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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