Awesomely Weird Alibaba Electric Vehicle of the Week: An ambiguous backwards car

  
Via:  Nerm_L  •  2 months ago  •  33 comments

By:   Micah Toll (Electrek)

Awesomely Weird Alibaba Electric Vehicle of the Week: An ambiguous backwards car
This funny-looking electric car is nearly symmetrical from the front to the back.

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So, how do you produce an electric car with a $2,264 sticker price?  China can do it, apparently.

No, it's not a muscle car.  No it's not fast, sleek, and loaded with luxury.  No, it's not a long range, open road cruiser.  But if $3,000 electric cars were available then more people might try them.


S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



Well this is a new level of weird, even for the Awesomely Weird Alibaba Electric Vehicle of the Week series. Because even though we've covered some oddball designs from China's largest shopping site, we could always at least tell which end of the car was the front. But this time, it's not nearly so clear.

And that appears to be by design, which is perfect for me. One feature I always look for in a car is difficulty in determining which end is the front.

A backwards Alibaba car?


This funny-looking electric car is nearly symmetrical from the front to the back.

That probably doesn't lead to the best aerodynamic performance. But the top speed of 60 km/h (37 mph) and a little 2.2 kW (3 hp) motor means that aerodynamics also aren't exactly critical.

What was apparently more critical to the designers was that any driver would have to walk around the car once or twice before figuring out which side to get in; that's because there's basically nothing to clue you in on which end of the car is the front and which is the rear.

The odd little car is a four seater, and fortunately all four seats face forwards. So between the color of the tail lights and the direction of the seats, you've got some subtle hints on which tip of the car to point at the end of the driveway.

But that's where the clues end. The front and rear fascia are largely identical. The front and rear windshield share essentially the same angle, and even the direction of the doors don't clue you in!

There's a two door coupe and four door version, but both are equally confusing. The two door has a conventional door on the driver's side (left or correct side) and a suicide door on the right side. With the passenger door opening backwards, the car creates a funky look, especially from the top. I've never seen a more Yin and Yang car in my life. The four door version has two normal front doors, while the rear doors are rearward-opening suicide doors. So again, we've got symmetry right down the middle of the car.

To be fair, the interior actually looks quite nice. I'd say it's nicer-looking than the interior of a $2,264 car deserves to be!

And at that price, I've got half a mind to snatch this thing up and put it on the next slow boat from Shanghai; of course, the other half of my mind is thinking exactly the opposite. Damn, this Yin-Yang thing is rough.

It wouldn't be the first weird mini electric vehicle I've bought from China, but it certainly wouldn't have the utility of my past purchases.

I'm not telling anyone to get this thing, but I am saying that if you do, please invite me to the unboxing ceremony!

And let's just hope they put an arrow on the box labeling it. I've never seen an Alibaba product more worthy of a "This end forwards" sticker in my life.

Right there with ya, Mr. Travolta!


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Nerm_L
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Nerm_L    2 months ago

For $3,000 I'd seriously consider trying one just for the fun of it.  Too bad it won't be available in the US.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Professor Principal
1.1  seeder  Nerm_L  replied to  Nerm_L @1    2 months ago

Turns out the Alibaba car, featured in the seed, is a Chinese knock off of the Citroen Ami.  Surprise, surprise. 

  

The French are producing a model that may be more appealing to the American market.  Apparently the Citroen Ami is going to be available in the US. 

800

 
 
 
Sunshine
Professor Guide
2  Sunshine    2 months ago

That is a glorified golf cart. 

I wouldn't feel safe in that and no way would I transport my family in it.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Professor Principal
2.1  seeder  Nerm_L  replied to  Sunshine @2    2 months ago
That is a glorified golf cart.  I wouldn't feel safe in that and no way would I transport my family in it.

Yup.  The car in the seed fits into the niche for golf carts, UTVs, and mobility scooters.  It's not meant to be a road boat.  

And at $2,264 the car is price competitive with golf carts, UTVs, and mobility scooters.  The car does appear to offer better comfort and performance than other types of vehicles in that niche.

 
 
 
magicschoolbusdropout
Freshman Principal
3  magicschoolbusdropout    2 months ago

Reminds me when the "Yugo" Came out.

"Yugo '92. Overprotected. Underpriced."

 
 
 
Sunshine
Professor Guide
3.1  Sunshine  replied to  magicschoolbusdropout @3    2 months ago

One of those flew off the Mackinac Bridge.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Professor Principal
3.2  seeder  Nerm_L  replied to  magicschoolbusdropout @3    2 months ago
Reminds me when the "Yugo" Came out. "Yugo '92. Overprotected. Underpriced."

Reminds me of a Suzuki Carry van.  That was powered by a 360cc two-stroke motorcycle engine.

384

Someone in town had a Suzuki Carry truck that seemed more than adequate.  I thought it was pretty cool.

384

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
PhD Guide
4  Jeremy Retired in NC    2 months ago

Yeah, that's a hard pass.  Need more, hell, everything, than that to meet my needs.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Professor Principal
4.1  seeder  Nerm_L  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @4    2 months ago
Yeah, that's a hard pass.  Need more, hell, everything, than that to meet my needs.

Well, the car fits into the same niche as UTVs.  And UTVs seem rather popular.  Personally, I'd rather have the car than the UTV.

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
PhD Guide
4.1.1  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  Nerm_L @4.1    2 months ago

The UTV I have for work is an M1152 (required for access to certain areas).  My everyday vehicle is an F150.  Need the cargo space.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Professor Principal
4.1.2  seeder  Nerm_L  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @4.1.1    2 months ago
The UTV I have for work is an M1152 (required for access to certain areas).  My everyday vehicle is an F150.  Need the cargo space.

The military can adapt anything.


384

[WASHINGTON, Apr. 1] --- The Secretary of the Air Force has announced a procurement contract for the newest generation of light tactical craft, dubbed the *Joint Smart Interceptor*.  The *F-3.5 Smart Interceptor* continues the Air Force's strategic goal of acquiring lighter, more agile vehicles for multi-purpose and asymmetric mission roles in urban areas with high civilian population density.  The Secretary said on the basis of strengths, weaknesses and degrees of risk of the program that the F-3.5 Interceptor was the winner on a "smart-value" basis. 

Total cost of the contract to enter the systems development and demonstration phase is $15 billion. Pratt and Whitney has a $3 billion contract to design and build propulsion systems for the craft.  Once production achieves full capacity, each craft is forecast to cost $6.2 million depending on options and accessories.

The first operational F-3.5 Smart Interceptor is scheduled for delivery in time for Christmas.

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
PhD Principal
5  Just Jim NC TttH    2 months ago

No that much different in size than a SmartCar.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Professor Principal
5.1  seeder  Nerm_L  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @5    2 months ago
No that much different in size than a SmartCar.

What's interesting to me is the design for efficient manufacturing.  Essentially the car is designed to manufacture a single component and then join two components in the middle.  That's gotta reduce the amount of tooling needed to build one.

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
PhD Principal
5.1.1  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  Nerm_L @5.1    2 months ago

Definitely would

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
Professor Quiet
5.2  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @5    2 months ago

True, but at least with a SmartCar you got AC and air bags.

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
6  Mark in Wyoming     2 months ago

Sorry but first look and i was , that looks like something you see shriners ,elks and loyal order of water buffalo drive in parades to entertain the kids ......would take a UTV razor over that , at least it has a roll bar and can go faster in those maximum overdrive situations .....can just see this thing in front of a semi going down the road .... SPEEDBUMP.

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
Professor Quiet
8  Ed-NavDoc    2 months ago

That thing is a glorified aluminum can. I'll stick to my Chevy Silverado 1500 4 door pickup. Safety, interior space, and hauling in one package.

 
 
 
shona1
Junior Participates
8.1  shona1  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @8    2 months ago

Morning Ed...more like a mobile coffins...yes electric cars are all well and good in city areas etc but not out in the bush.

I want to see them cross the Nullarbor here.. thousands of ks of nothing and they are going to put charging stations out there..?? Yeah right..

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
Professor Quiet
8.1.1  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  shona1 @8.1    2 months ago

I remember when I was in Christchurch, New Zealand I drove around the older Austin Minnie that belonged to a friend of mine. Was not so bad because most other cars were the same size. I had the opportunity to buy one and have it shipped back to the US free of charge courtesy of the US Navy. It was a older model made mostly of aluminum or aluminium as it's referred to in your corner of the globe. I started thinking about driving that thing on the freeways with full size vehicles, 18 wheeler semi tractor trailors all around me. If I got in a accident I was a goner and decided not to. 

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
9  Buzz of the Orient    2 months ago
"Because even though we've covered some oddball designs from China's largest shopping site, we could always at least tell which end of the car was the front."

That's not true....

"Pundits of the day tagged the new Stude the “ coming and going  car,” as allegedly, you couldn’t tell if it was coming or going down the street. In 1949 Studebaker named this body style the Starlight Coupe, and enthusiasts have since backdated the term so that ’47 and ’48 coupes also get the Starlight label." http//:www.macsmotorcitygarage.com/first-by-far-with-a-postwar-car-studebaker-for-1…

red-stude1-1-630x390.jpg

Although I have not driven a car since I came to China, I can afford that little buggy, and it's getting harder for me to get around because of a problem with one of my knees.  I still don't want to drive here, but my wife could take driving lessons and get her licence and the car would be hers.  We would never take it out on the highway, but for getting around this huge city it could be a boon. 

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
Professor Quiet
9.1  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @9    2 months ago

The same could also be said about the Tucker as a coming or going car.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
9.1.1  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @9.1    2 months ago

I had a distant elder cousin from Chicago who owned a Tucker and drove it to my grandmother's cottage when I was a kid.  I was fascinated by the middle headlight that aims the light back and forth with the turning of the steering wheel.   

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
9.1.2  Tessylo  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @9.1.1    2 months ago

In a Stephen King book, Needful Things, there was mention of that car and the middle headlight, interesting!

Also, in another Stephen King short story, I can't think of the name of it right now, he mentioned a vehicle called I think a Cresswell.  I've been trying to find a picture of that ever since but haven't been able to.  I'd love to see what that looked like.  The Tucker also.  

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
9.1.3  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Tessylo @9.1.2    2 months ago

I've never heard of a Cressell, but there's a Criswell Chevrolet dealership in Maryland.  Here are a couple of pictures of the Tucker car.  Note that headlight in the middle of the front, that I referred to.

original-1949-tucker-automobile-hits-the-dyno-2020-06-23_15-03-02_066348.jpg

OIP-C.mXT_HbH9YQrMYvmJC1UUrQHaE7?w=304&h=203&c=7&r=0&o=5&dpr=1.3&pid=1.7

It was a car WAY before its time.  I believe the existing car manufacturers caused its demise because it was so much better than what they were making. 

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
9.1.4  Tessylo  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @9.1.3    2 months ago

That's a Cresswell - when I looked it up - all that came up were car dealerships like you mentioned.  From the description in the story - it's like a huge truck with like a flatbed on the back - it had a crank on the front.  

Thanks for the photo of the Tucker.  I think you're right.  

 
 
 
shona1
Junior Participates
9.2  shona1  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @9    2 months ago

Evening buzz..why don't you get an electric buggy?? Very popular here with people who have a disability or struggle to get around.. ideal to go in shopping centres etc...

Some towns here even have drag races for them as annual events etc.. puts a bit of spark into their lives....

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
9.2.1  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  shona1 @9.2    2 months ago

Well, actually almost everything we need is within a short walking distance, so although it would be nice to have, it was just a thought.  We DO have a bicycle.  LOL

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
Professor Quiet
9.2.2  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @9.2.1    2 months ago

Wonder how much a cheap copy of that car sells for on Wish?jrSmiley_86_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
9.2.3  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @9.2.2    2 months ago

Where would you get a cheap copy made of a cheap car made in China?

 
 
 
charger 383
Professor Quiet
10  charger 383    2 months ago

What size mower deck does it come with?

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
10.1  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  charger 383 @10    2 months ago

What new car can you buy in America for less than $3,000?

 
 
 
pat wilson
Professor Guide
10.1.1  pat wilson  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @10.1    2 months ago

You can't even get a new golf cart for that.

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
Professor Quiet
10.2  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  charger 383 @10    2 months ago

Probably under exclusive contract to Briggs & Stratton!

 
 

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