– Jan. 23rd 2021 2:20 am ET
Alibaba is one of the best places around to find the coolest and sometimes weirdest electric vehicles in the world. As part of a new series known as Awesomely weird Alibaba electric vehicle of the week, we’re taking a look at some of our favorites.
This week’s feature is a small-yet-mighty electric pickup truck designed for utility and off-road usage, though it may even be street legal as an NEV in the US.
If the proportions look at bit odd on this electric pickup truck, that’s because they are.
It’s a mini-truck, and its specs are mini too.
We’re talking 12-inch wheels, an intimate two person cab and a payload capacity of 500 kg (1,100 lb) in the 1.6 m (5’3″) long bed .
But while it may be small, this is still a fully functional truck. The bed doesn’t just have a tailgate, the sides fold down as well to transform into a flat bed. The cab has all the basic automotive accoutrements you’d expect, such as a radio, air vents (A/C costs extra), windshield wipers, adjustable seats, manual locks/windows and three-point seat belts for safety. There’s even a 64L (2.3 cubic feet) frunk up front!
This isn’t just a glorified golf cart, it’s a small yet well-equipped utility vehicle.
I chatted with Reyna Zoe from the company, who shared with me the more detailed spec sheet.
The best price she could offer me was US$3,950 for the standard model, or US$4,880 for the extended cab model that comes with four seats, larger 13-inch wheels and a few other upgrades including power steering, electric locks/windows and even a child safety lock.
As helpful as she is, I’ve been waiting days for a shipping quote to my nearest port in the US (Reyna explained to me that they unfortunately don’t offer door-to-door shipping as an option). I’m guessing we’re going to be looking at somewhere around US$1,000 to US$1,500 in shipping charges, though these can vary wildly.
All told, even if the total price breaks US$5,000, that’s not bad for what looks like a nice little utility truck. And if you think about how much the cost of gas and diesel adds up for farmers or construction workers who use utility vehicles every day, this price might actually make sense.
And even for the rest of us, it looks like fun little runabout. Don’t believe me? Check out the seller’s video below and try to tell me that doesn’t look like fun!
Keep in mind though that this is an NEV (Neighborhood Electric Vehicle) and thus has a max speed of just 40 km/h (25 mph). The 4 kW motor providing rear-wheel drive is geared low for torque, not speed.
This isn’t for cruising the highway, it’s for getting local errands done or cruising around a job site. You aren’t going to be hauling a dozen bags of cement in a golf cart, but you could in this little thing.
And it even has decent range at 120 km (75 miles) from its 72V and 7.2 kWh battery pack.
As you might have guessed, the truck uses old-fashioned lead acid batteries. The weight savings alone from li-ion batteries would likely boost the range significantly, though they’d also boost the price as well.
If the truck looks familiar to you, then you might be recognizing it as the Pickman, a Chinese electric mini-truck we’ve covered before.
I’m not sure if this listing is the same truck being resold on Alibaba or if they are just playing fast and loose with copyright laws regarding the Pickman’s photos.
If it is, this would be a much cheaper way to get yourself a Pickman electric truck. They are actually currently being sold in the US, but start at $10k for the base model. They are even street legal as Low Speed Vehicles (LSVs) on public roads posted up to 35 mph.
CGTN did a piece on the Pickman truck in LA, which you can see below.
As you can see, the little truck actually seems to be decently capable despite its small stature.
While this isn’t going to replace a Cybertruck or electric F-150, it could be an interesting little utility EV for work sites and transport jobs that don’t need the power, speed and payload capacity of a full-size EV truck.
Shopping on Alibaba – is it safe?
I’m something of an Alibaba junkie. I’ve made a few dozen purchases on the platform, not to mention several hundred purchases on the more retail-focused AliExpress platform.
It’s a great to place to find weird, interesting and awesome products at weird, interesting and awesome prices.
To ease your worried mind, they hold your money in escrow and offer trade assurance to make interactions safer. I’ve rarely had an issue with an order. The few times I’ve had problems, I’ve almost always gotten all or most of my money back.
However, none of this should be taken as an endorsement of Alibaba or this product itself. While it’s fun to window shop through Alibaba like this and find the most interesting niche electric vehicles out there, the ordering process requires a combination of finesse, patience and courage. You have to be very clear in communicating what you want to ensure that you and the seller are on the same page and that you receive what you’re expecting.
There’s also inevitably going to be a number of fees thrown on top by the time the product reaches you, even if you’ve agreed with the seller on door to door shipping paid upfront.
Shopping on Alibaba, especially for large purchases, is not for the faint of heart. But it can be quite rewarding when you find interesting products at rock bottom prices.
Update: Response from ThePickman in California
Joseph Chu from ThePickman in Rancho Cucamonga, California reached out to us about this truck and gave us some more background info.
ThePickman handles international imports of the Pickman truck. When they import it, it comes with all relevant DOT/LSV/L7e components that make it street legal if you want to operate it on public roads. He warned that buying directly from a local reseller via Alibaba means you likely won’t get these components.
The pricing from a local reseller on Alibaba also likely doesn’t cover associate fees, such as “fees to get the vehicle packed, get it to port, prep container, ocean freight as well as relevant importation and duties for whichever country the vehicle maybe exported to.”
These are all good things to be aware of. If you want to order a Pickman electric truck like this in the US, you can check out the US importer’s site for help.
It will also give you a chance to add-on some cool accessories, like those seen below.
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