It’s not everyday that the odd little EVs I find for the Awesomely Weird Alibaba Electric Vehicle of the Week are so cool that I’m tempted to buy them myself. But this week it’s going to be hard to pass up on this three-seater electric pedicab that you can own for a song!
Alright, so let’s dive in here. This is what we’re looking at: an electric trike with a pivoting front end that mounts a bench-style seat for two adults (or probably three kids squished shoulder to shoulder).
This 85 kg (187 lb.) electric rickshaw is the open-aired pedal minivan you’ve been looking for. Or maybe you haven’t been looking for it, but it found you anyway. Just look at the luck on you, my friend!
The electric pedicab comes with comfy cushions for the bench seat and backrest, diamond plate flooring, and even a set of wooden arm rests to keep your fares comfortable.
For the driver we’ve got a padded full-width handlebar and a six-speed transmission. Steering is accomplished by turning the whole front end of the e-trike, which is a dead simple way to offer the stability of a tadpole trike (two front wheels instead of two rear wheels) without the complexity of steering knuckles and articulating front wheels.
And of course the entire thing is electric, meaning you won’t have to pedal the 200 kg (440 lb.) payload capacity under your own strength, or at least not entirely by yourself.
Now I’ll be the first to say that the electric kit on this pedicab leaves a lot to be desired. It’s a simple 250W Dapu e-bike motor and controller. That means it’s not going to get rolling very quickly, and so it’s a good thing you’ve got a six-speed transmission that allows you to drop into low gear to help get things moving.
The bike includes a 36V 13Ah battery, which again, is not particularly large. But since this pedicab likely maxes out at around 25 km/h (15 mph), it’s not like you’re going to be burning up that much energy doing low-speed riding.
The company claims the e-rickshaw can handle a 35º hill, but that’s probably a fib taller than these handlebars. You’d have trouble walking up a 35º incline, let alone powering a heavy e-bike up one.
But we’ll let that slide since the bike seems to come with some pretty nice features. It even has hydraulic disc brakes plus a pair of storage compartments behind the seat! What’s not to like here?
You can see the major features in the video below. My favorite part is the tranquil music and the subtle narration.
But my favorite part of all of this is probably the price. The non-electric version of the pedidcab is priced at an amazingly affordable $685. If you want the electric pedicab, that’ll be a slightly higher but still more than reasonable $980.
And now you’re probably thinking that “sure, it’s cheap, but shipping is going to be the killer here.” And you’re right, sort of. I inquired about door-to-door shipping and the vendor told me that it’d cost over $1,000 to the US. So next I had the vendor check on LCL (less than container load) shipping to Miami port, which turned out to be a cool $280. Ka-ching!
If you’re on the West Coast then it’s probably going to be even cheaper, since you’ve got one less Panama Canal to navigate.
From there you’d still have other add-on charges, such as import duties, arrival duties, broker fees, and the responsibility of picking it up at port or trucking it yourself to your final destination. But you could probably be home free for less than $2,000 if you play your cards right. Is it going to be as nice as a $2,500 e-trike? No way. But can it carry more and give you a better story of how you got it to the US? Definitely.
And the best part is that this is all a write-off, since you’re definitely going to be starting a pedicab company with this thing, right?! I mean, why wouldn’t you? Charge $5 a ride and you’re just a mere 400 fares away from paying this bad boy off.
Realistically speaking, even if you’re not planning on bringing in 20 of these and becoming the next pedicab tycoon of your local beach town, this could still make a fun family vehicle. It’d be perfect for more than just Sunday rides with the kids. You could even use it for carpool duty during the week to drop those rug rats off at school or make a little cargo net for the front to turn the bench into a big trunk for grocery shopping.
When you own your own electric trike, the world is your oyster!