Home » Here Are The Coolest Dirt-Cheap Electric Cars I Spotted On The Streets Of Beijing

Here Are The Coolest Dirt-Cheap Electric Cars I Spotted On The Streets Of Beijing

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Do you think Jason’s Changli — the cheapest new electric car that you can buy in America — is weird? Well, that’s actually quite a standard kind of low-speed electric vehicle (LSEV). China has got much weirder ones. In this post I’m going to show you the 10 most interesting LSEVs that I met on the streets of Beijing in the middle of the summer. It was rainy and hot — perfect weather for LSEV spotting. Let’s roll.

Umi YM2000DP

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We start with the Umi YM2000DP, parked next to a tree in front of a restaurant. It is an eye-catching machine, painted in yellow and black, with gray trim, a racing stripe over the hood, and sporty wheels. The YM2000DP is a narrow three-seat vehicle. About eight feet long with a five foot wheelbase. It has a single center seat for the driver and a bench for two in the back. It has a huge single windscreen wiper on the left side of the hood.

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Great! A free font allows the manufacturer to keep prices low.

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The Umi YM2000DP is a rear-wheel drive car. The motor is located over the rear axle. Will it drift, I wonder, on these wet roads? The motor has an output of 2.0 kW (2.68 horsepower), which sounds like nothing, but the curb weight is only 550 pounds, so it still goes 28 mph.  The 60V 58AH lead acid battery pack is located under the front seat. The manufacturer claims a range of 37 miles and a charging time of 8 hours.

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The doors are extra long for easy entry and exit, and folks can get in the rear directly without any need for messing around with the front seat. The Transformers Revenge of the Fallen stickers, the reflectors, and the window wind deflectors are aftermarket accessories. Transformers stickers are super popular among LSEV owners and they look great on this Bumblebee-yellow Umi YM2000DP. The Umi brand is owned by Umi Electric Vehicle Technology, an LSEV maker based in Yanjiang Town, Linhai, Zhejiang Province.

Yaolon YL1500DZH-7

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LSEVs come in all shapes and sizes. Pickup trucks are nothing new, but Yaolon makes legitimately cool LSEV ones, and that’s rare. I met this Yaolon YL1500DZH-7 tricycle at a local car repair market. An entrepreneur had set up a small shop selling Yaolon vehicles. This green example was priced at exactly 5,000 yuan ($684). [Editor’s Note: WHAT? THAT’S DIRT CHEAP! – JT] The bull bar, roof rails, and sporty wheels are standard. The Yaolon brand is owned by a company called Luoyang Everest Three-Wheeled Motorcycle, based in Luoyang City in Henan Province. The design of the YL1500DZH-7 is surprisingly comprehensive for an LSEV company. Maybe they should make cars.

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I LOVE the shape of the rear window, and atop the window is a spoiler with an integrated light. Wow! The bed has a nice cover, and the tailgate swings down. The bumper has two extra reflectors to increase visibility.  The Yaolon YL1500DZH-7 is a small vehicle, at 10 feet long, with a seven-foot wheelbase and a 950-pound curb weight. It is rated as a 3-seat vehicle, and it did indeed have a small bench in the rear, but it seemed useless for anything but a baby. The motor has an output of 1.5 kW (2 horsepower), which is a bit low, but Yaolon nevertheless claims a 51 km/h (32 mph) top speed.

Yaolon YL3000DZK

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This is the YL3000DZK, at the same store, and it sold for the same price. It is a four-door hatchback LSEV with a third-side window extension. The colorful stickers, bull bar, double sidebars, and roof rails are factory standard, but the roof box and wind deflectors are optional. It also has a sunroof, located just above the windshield, but it doesn’t seem very usable with the roof rails right atop of it. It’s almost nine feet long with a six foot wheelbase. The curb weight is 860 pounds.Lsev Road Beijing 35

The motor has a bit more power. Output is 3 kW (4 horsepower) for a speedy 52 km/h (32 mph) top speed. The YL3000DZK has three seats, one center seat in front and a two-seat bench in the back. Unlike in the YL1500DZH-7, the bench looked large enough to fit two adults. The shiny wheel arch extenders look classy, and it has a spare wheel cover at the back. There isn’t a real wheel in there, it is just a box basically, to store round things that you can’t store inside or on the roof.

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Dalle DEL K3

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This little beauty is a Dalle Del K3. It looked brilliant in light blue with black bumpers and sporty gray wheels. The design of the front was inspired by Mini, with a small gray-colored grille. The cabin is relatively high for extra headroom, with a straight windshield and a single wiper. The K3 is no longer in production, which is sad because it looks much cooler than their current cars. I found a pic of a brand-new K3 on an LSEV show.

The brand name is Dai’er le (戴尔乐). The English brand name is Dalle, but the names Del and Dell are used as well. This kind of naming mess is common among Chinese LSEV makers, and even among car makers in general. (It is best not to let this get to you, just take it as it is, and continue with your life. Don’t go too deep into these naming situations, don’t try too hard to find out how or why, and don’t ever get angry. Or you will go crazy. Trust me, I’ve been there).

The brand is owned by Xiamen Dalle New Energy Automobile, based in Xiamen City, Fujian Province. They use the abbreviation HDK as their company name. Their older cars have an HDK logo on the hood. Their new cars have a logo with either a horse head or a silver crown. This kind of logo mess is common among Chinese LSEV makers. It is best not to let this get to you, etcetera. I have a friend (hello!) who had a database with names and logos of LSEV companies. But you know, these companies are changing names and logos all the time. No way José. Can’t do. So he went crazy. Be careful, just be careful.  

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More mirrors = better situational awareness.

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The bumpers and sidebars are black. It had two seats in the front and a small bench in the back. A four-seater! The A-pillar has a bit of a blind spot. But the manufacturer did think about safety issues: check the reflector stickers on the wheel arches, so folks will see the Dalle Del K3 at twilight.

‘Tianjin Super’

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This one is more a classic LSEV, with 3 wheels, four doors, and a BMW-inspired grille. They don’t make ’em like this anymore! It has great stickers on the sides, very 1990s style, but it isn’t that old, likely from the early 2010s. It looked a bit rusty but it seemed still in use. The BMW grille was made of metal. Try that today. All the ‘grilles’ are made of plastic now.

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Sadly, I have been unable to find out who the maker was. It only had a ‘China Tianjin’ badge on the back. Tianjin is a large municipality, so I assume it was made there. An LSEV without a brand name is not uncommon, at all. Actually, for every three branded LSEVs you see one unbranded LSEV. That has to do with how the business works —see my earlier article on this important matter. In short: an entrepreneur can buy any part for an LSEV off the shelf, put it all together in a shed, and start selling them on a parking lot. It is a fast-paced business, so in many cases, folks don’t bother about branding. They may put a sticker on, or a logo, or nothing at all. Needless to say, these non-branded cars make it even harder to follow the LSEV sector. But perhaps I can make a catalog with non-branded LSEVs. If I collect enough examples, I may be able to see patterns. I’ll start right away after this article is finished.

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The mysterious Super from Tianjin has notable large door handles, a twin-color body, sporty wheels, and shiny wheel arch covers. The roof rack and searchlights seem factory standard but I can’t be 100% sure. The rear tires are wide for the segment and very racy.

Zongshen X3 Fuxing

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I was thrilled when I met this little baby. Sadly, she seemed abandoned, with the tires deflated and one of the indicators falling off. The design is just… just. Mad? Cute? Cute mad. And cool. Very cool. The headlights are like an insect’s eyes, looking angry. The window setup is interesting. The windshield sits high in the body. Then it has A-pillar side windows. And side windows, which are lower. Next, we got windows in the C-pillar. Or is that the B? Finally, it has a rear window.

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This is a Zongshen X3 Fuxing. Zongshen is the brand name. X3 Fuxing the model name. It is locked with a bike lock at the front wheel. The mirrors are very large relative to the vehicle’s size. It has a ventilation slot below the windshield. The wiper is mounted neatly in the middle. But it covers only about 2/3 of the windshield. Everything above that stays wet. Forget about airplane spotting in the rain in this thing. The Zongshen X3 was made by Jiangsu Zongshen, a company based in Jiangsu Province. Note the Zongshen logo between the headlights. The X3 doesn’t seem to be in production anymore. When new, it sold for 4000 yuan ($547).

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It has an air vent above the rear window. The rear tires are narrow for better range. The blue-white Zongshen stickers are nice. The rear lights are super basic. But it is all we need, and the lights are protected with a rear bar. It had a 1 kW motor (1.3 horsepower) for a 20 km/h (12 mph) top speed. The battery was a 60V20A lead-acid unit, for a 25-kilometer (15.5 mile) range. Size: 1970/1100/1570. A brilliant machine. I don’t think Jiangsu Zongshen sold many of them in Beijing, this was the first one I’d ever seen.

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Aonew QH-T

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Welcome to the modern era of LSEV! This streamlined tricycle is the Aonew QH-T. Let’s start with the color. Soft-tone pink! Soft-tone colors are popular these days among Chinese real-car makers, especially with models and lines aimed at female customers. And now LSEV makers are following this trend as well. Not sure I like it, I am a hard-tone kind of guy, but the market decides, you know. The front wheel setup seems quite serious, with a large ventilated brake disc and a two-piston brake caliper. The shocks look sweet too, and the tires are wide. I bet it will do nicely off-road.

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The door has a two-window design, but there isn’t any side window further back. It’s about eight feet long, and has a 1.5 kW (2 horsepower) motor for a 45 km/h (27 mph) top speed. Electricity is stored in a 60V, 58Ah lead-acid battery pack.  The manufacturer claims a range of 80 kilometers (50 miles), which seems wildly optimistic. I have never met an LSEV with such a range. Heck, even with a 70V, 58Ah it wouldn’t do 80 kilometers in one charge.

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The light bar would not look out of place on a HiPhi. It even has reversing lights! So much safety on this thing. Enough is enough, isn’t it? But no. Not even close. The Aonew QH-T has seat belts! What?!? Well, seat belts in the front seat are not extremely rare in LSEV land. But the QH-T has a seatbelt for the rear bench! Now that’s wacky. It is just one belt for two seats, but still, wacky as hell. The Aonew QH-T is made by Zhejiang Aonew Technology, based in Taizhou City, Zhejiang Province.

Boma X7

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Back to old-school stuff now with the Boma X7, a brilliant four-wheel LSEV with a bull bar and wide wheel arches. BMW has always been an inspiration for LSEV makers. Back in the old-school days, lots of LSEVs came with BMW-kidney grilles, like the Super above. But Boma takes things a little further. The Chinese name is Boma (博马), which is really close to the Chinese name of BMW, Baoma (宝马). Oddly, the manufacturer uses traditional Chinese characters: 博馬. These have been out of general use in Mainland China since the mid-1950s, but they are still sometimes used for branding purposes.  The idea is that old characters = old brand = good brand. This is mostly used for booze and watches and pens and such products. Never seen it for an LSEV brand. It also used a font similar to what BMW uses, and the car is called X7, and it has blue-white stripes that are BMW-ish.

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The X7 has a stocky design with a high beltline. It has a black bar that starts at the front fender and runs over the doors to the rear lights, The shape of the windows is simple, saving cost. Like many LSEVs, it has a sticker of a power plug on the charge port door to remind folks to power it up with electricity, and not with gasoline.

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The Boma X7 is still in production, priced at 5000 yuan ($694!). Here is brand new on an LSEV show. It’s eight feet long, and has a 60V, 58Ah lead acid battery pack for a claimed range of 65 kilometers/40 miles. The top speed is 40 kilometers per hour (25 mph). The Boma brand is owned by Taizhou Mingsheng Electric Vehicle, based in Taizhou City in Zhejiang Province. They use the Boma name and the abbreviation BM.

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Check that X7 BMW font. But for the name, well, who copied who? The BMW X7 SUV was unveiled in 2018. I am pretty sure this Boma X7 is older than that.

Dongwei Q7

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From the Boma X7 we go to the Dongwei Q7. This too is a modern LSEV, with four wheels and an actual design. Split headlights are a design trend in real-car land, and again we see it seeping through to the LSEV sector. The lights in the bumper seem gigantic, but you can never have enough light in a day. This Dongwei Q7 appeared to be brand new, it still had the dealer plates on and it smelled fresh, like only newly shaped Chinese plastics can smell. Back in the 1990s, when I traveled to China for the first time, the plastics industry was just getting started. They had these rough-looking household items and toys, made of plastics that were as hard as concrete. Very smelly too! That smell, I’ll never forget it. Toys smell differently now, for sure, and a set of spoons too. But the plastics used for these LSEVs smell strangely similar to the stuff they used back in those days. Lovely.

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The Dongwei Q7 has a nice orange strip alongside the door and roof. It has orange mirrors too. The stickers say Dongwei Electric Energy Technology. The door is very wide and occupies the whole side, and includes two windows. The 10-spoke wheels look really sporty, with big tires again. Older LSEVs have narrow tires, newer LSEVs have wider ones. I think that is a great improvement in the general look & feel of the entire LSEV product line.

The Q7 has a 1.2 kW (1.6 horsepower) electric motor for a 45 km/h (27 mph) top speed. It has a 60V lead-acid battery and a range of 40 kilometers (25 miles), which seems realistic. It is, like always, a 3-seat car with two seats in the back. There is just enough space there for 3 factory-office workers.

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The Dongwei Q7 is made by Henan Dongwei Intelligent Technology, a company that describes itself as: “an internet-based modern vehicle industry company based on the internet and big data platform, mainly engaged in the research and development, production and sales of three-wheeled and four-wheeled electric vehicles.” The company is based in Zhumadian City in Henan Province. They have an English slogan: “I Love I Do“.

Niuben Xiaoke Taurus 2 (HH1200DZK-7)

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This is a huge one! The Niuben Xiaoke Taurus 2, with Jeep-branded searchlights on the roof. Niuben Xiaoke is the brand name, and Taurus 2 is the type name. Finally, HH1200DZK-7 is the designation. Some LSEV makers use the designation as the name. Others have separate names and designations. In previous times, all LSEVs had the full designation on the car, as a badge or a sticker, usually at the rear, and sometimes on the front fender. This used to be obligatory by law, just like it once was for real cars. It is no longer required today, except for commercial vehicles.

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The Taurus 2 is a long tricycle. It has an extension in the middle for extra space inside. It’s about nine feet long, and the curb weight is 654 kilos (1,441 pounds). It has fancy stickers on the sides, a large roof rack, a bull bar, and a rear bar. The Taurus 2 is officially rated at three people, but I could see two benches in the back, facing each other, so it can seat four passengers. That is a proper car. Make it a bit longer and you get a bus. Niuben Xiaoke is a brand under Shandong Hehai Automobile Technology, based in Heze City in Shandong Province.

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On-vehicle celebrity endorsement! Brilliant. Normal celebrity endorsement is everywhere in China, for all kinds of products, from candies to milk to beer to cars to trucks. LSEV makers often have celebrity endorsements from local stars from their home provinces. Celebrities may include TV hosts, singers, and sportspeople. Endorsement advertising is normally only visible on websites and in shops, but some LSEV makers do sticker the endorsements on their vehicles. I have seen it more in smaller cities and not so much in Beijing, so this is a great catch. The neatly dressed fellow is He Zhengjun, (何政军) a movie star. He was born in 1963. He has starred in over 40 movies and television series. This year, in 2023, he played/plays in three television series and three movies, and he was the singer in a movie song. Asian actors are always busy. Some Chinese movie stars have been in over 100 films. He Zhengjun was hired by Shandong Hehai Automobile Technology in 2020 and he is still with the company today. I wonder if he demanded a Taurus 2  as part of his payment package.

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Power comes from a 1.2 kW (1.6 horsepower) electric motor, good for a claimed speed of 54 km/h (33 mph), which seems fast for such a big vehicle. The E-pillars [Editor’s Note: This may be the first time we’ve mentioned E-pillars? – JT] are covered with a black piece of trim, which looks nice with the darkened windows. A modern look. Well. That is about the end of this story.

Is this the end?

The rules for LSEVs in China are set at the city level. This is about the situation in Beijing. LSEVs have a complicated history in the Chinese capital. Officially, only the disabled and elderly are allowed to own and drive an LSEV. But in reality, everybody can have one. In the suburbs, the larger kind of LSEVs are used as short-distance illegal taxis, for shipping people from their compound to the mall and back.

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For the last decade, the Beijing city government has largely left the LSEV sector alone. It is an affordable form of clean transport, and the industry employs a lot of people. But in recent years, things have gone a bit out of hand. With living standards improving, more and more folks can afford an LSEV,  so suddenly the streets got full of them. And since they are not really regulated, owners don’t need a driving license. Even worse, they can drive and park wherever they want, blocking roads and bicycle lanes.

The Beijing government has tried several times to bring the LSEV sector under some sort of control but without success. Seemingly out of desperation, the city announced a full ban on LSEVs starting on December 31st. From that day, 3- and 4-wheel LSEVs are no longer allowed on the road, and no longer allowed to be parked in public places such as roads, squares, and parking lots. The ban is total within the Sixth Ring Road of Beijing. Outside the Sixth Ring Road, people can still operate LSEVs, but only with an official license (like for disabled folks), a driving license, and only if the manufacturer of the LSEV is officially registered (so forget about the un-branded stuff).  Folks who still drive an LSEV within the 6th ring, or outside the 6th without a license, will have their vehicle impounded and will face steep fines. At the end of the year, all LSEVs may be gone from the streets of the capital. Whether this will really happen is still unknown, but perhaps this year is the last year one can see LSEVs roaming freely in the wild in Beijing.

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Posters announcing the ban are everywhere, like on this public bulletin board in a compound in south Beijing. I have never seen that before, so it seems serious indeed. The ban will have huge implications. Folks will be without transportation, shops will close, people will lose their jobs, and manufacturers who mainly rely on Beijing may go bankrupt. A terrible idea. Like a nightmare. Let’s hope this ban will fare as the previous ones: lots of talks but not much happening. But I am a little scared that this time things won’t end well. And there are similar bans in other big cities like Shanghai and Guangzhou already. Happily, China is big, and LSEVs are still essential for getting around in smaller cities and down the countryside. Speaking of which:

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Ducar Challenger 2

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I was in the countryside this summer, about a three hour drive from west Beijing. They got all kinds of cool cars there that one doesn’t see in the capital. This is a large electric pickup truck tricycle. I met it in a small village where folks were sitting around, chatting about things, and minding their village business. Until just a few years ago, these kinds of farm vehicles were all petrol-powered, but nowadays most are electric.

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That’s art. A navy boat with six canons and two satellite dishes, facing a challenging sea.

The Ducar Challenger 2 is powered by a 3 kW (4 horsepower) electric motor, and it has a top speed of 52 kilometers per hour (32 mph). Not 50 or 55. Nope, 52. It’s about 10 feet long, with a curb weight of 265 kg (582 pounds) and max load of 100 kg (220 pounds). It has a 72V, 58Ah battery pack. The Ducar brand is owned by Hebei Zhufeng Ducar Three-Wheel Motorcycle, based in Renqiu City in Hebei Province. Ducar is a well-known brand, I’ve known them for many years, and I have seen many of their older gasoline cars. The basic design is still the same as it was, just like the villages and villagers will always be what they were.

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Living the LSEV life. With mud flaps.

All right, that is the end of this post. LSEVs are just cool, no matter where they are. More on my countryside adventures later on!

 

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Ben Chia
Ben Chia
8 months ago

The Grand Tour should do a special on these. It’ll be a hoot.

Gubbin
Gubbin
8 months ago

Welcome Tycho! This is a lot of fun!

They’re selling Ducar style truck-trikes in the US as “Ranch King QL150” – Here’s a CraigsList ad for a dealer in southern Oregon and they’re also showing up at equipment auctions.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
8 months ago

The Yaolon 1500 immediately made me think, “SportTrac Tuk-tuk!” Pretty well done for the price, it looks. And the 3000 model got me wondering how accessorized these get: I really want to see one with a rooftop tent 🙂

Jakob K's Garage
Jakob K's Garage
8 months ago

That Taijin China Chrome bar reminds me of when I got a 250cc JinLun motorcycle for free from an old guy. Engine was Honda rip off sp pretty OK, rest was bad taste china chrome and cheap plastic

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
8 months ago

Epic! That’s a huge number and variety!

Echo Stellar
Echo Stellar
8 months ago

Heavens above, more articles like this please! A real bestsellingcarsblog.com vibe, which is good. Deciphering the utterly bizarre Chinese domestic market could be a hobby.

Lockleaf
Lockleaf
8 months ago
Reply to  Echo Stellar

I think its more of a career. You should check out Tycho’s other articles he’s published here. Crazy deep dives on things like 10 odd different ripoffs of Jeep Cherokee XJs. Pretty fascinating.

CoastieLenn
CoastieLenn
8 months ago

A thought on the ban. If recent developments saw living conditions improving and those vehicles are becoming more affordable/widespread, wouldn’t it stand to reason that should a ban take effect, minimal lasting effect would be had on employment and supply runs as the employees and business owners would just revert back to their pre-improvement tactics? Inconvenience? Sure, I can see that. Huge detriments? Probably not. From the looks of those vehicles, it seems like these things exploded in popularity within the last 10 years, so it’s not a hugely engrained societal need.

IDK, I’m not trying to be insensitive about it, but at the same time I can definitely see the problem these could cause if people operate them in a “Wild West” mentality.

Last edited 8 months ago by CoastieLenn
Strangek
Strangek
8 months ago

“it is just a box basically, to store round things” had me laughing pretty hard at the office.

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
8 months ago

The sadist in me wants to see a crash test of one of these vs a Yukon.

HonkeyfromtheCIA
HonkeyfromtheCIA
8 months ago
Reply to  Shooting Brake

If these were to come to America, they should be marketed as coming in a convenient burial size.

B3n
B3n
8 months ago

That Ducar pickup trike (or cargo tuk tuk?) is actually also available in the US.
At the moment they want $3500 for a new one.
I’m waiting to find one with a dead powertrain and gas swap it, a CG clone engine should fit right in.

Dogapult
Dogapult
8 months ago
Reply to  B3n

You can buy basically that with a CG clone engine on Alibaba without much trouble.

A. Barth
A. Barth
8 months ago

Before anyone gets the giggles, Fuxing is pronounced foo-shing. 🙂

SNL-LOL Jr
SNL-LOL Jr
8 months ago
Reply to  A. Barth

“I reject your reality and substitute my own.”

A. Barth
A. Barth
8 months ago
Reply to  SNL-LOL Jr

Thank you, Mr. Savage 🙂

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
8 months ago
Reply to  A. Barth

Really? What other ways might someone pronounce it?

😀

Lockleaf
Lockleaf
8 months ago
Reply to  A. Barth

Ahhh man, here I was thinking “thats not the right name for that. I don’t see much Fuxing happening in a vehicle that small.”

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
8 months ago

“Don’t go too deep into these naming situations, don’t try too hard to find out how or why, and don’t ever get angry. Or you will go crazy.”

My former 2007 Zap! Xebra was perhaps a 2006 Pioneer Shandong Pioneer Motorcycle, Second Remodel, or then again maybe its original model name was Dalong or Qingqi instead of Pioneer, depending on the reference cited, and it was apparently manufactured for Zap! by Jinan Dalong Vehicle Industry Co., Ltd. and/or Qingqi Group Motorcycle Co., Ltd., and/or Shandong Pioneer Motorcycle Co., Ltd. The various domestic make and model names seem to have been shared among a number of conventional two-wheeled offerings as well as being used for this fully-enclosed three-wheeler, and indeed the VIN for my Xebra is cross-referenced in some lists as belonging to a vehicle having a single-cylinder, four-stroke, air-cooled gasoline engine of between 126 and 250 cc, despite having been built as an EV…

It’s probably just as well that it is now my former Xebra:

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/52472757796_099584eeb2_c.jpg

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
8 months ago
Reply to  Mike Harrell

Ah that’s a shame. You should have kept it intact as lawn art!

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
8 months ago

In a sense I did. It had sat there immobile for so long that even though I cut it into pieces for disposal four years ago, the bare spot in the lawn is still quite visible.

Dogapult
Dogapult
8 months ago
Reply to  Mike Harrell

Zap! Snyder and Wildfire were all mostly the same vehicles, which is probably why the VIN malarkey happened. What made you decide to take it to bits?

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
8 months ago
Reply to  Dogapult

The steering linkage snapped in half in a location that I couldn’t figure out how to reach without slicing into the fiberglass body. Once I got started, well…

Mostly it came down to being forced to confront its truly horrific build quality, even by my own inexcusably low standards, then grudgingly admitting that I was better off cutting it apart and throwing it away than I would have been by trying to salvage it.

Dogapult
Dogapult
8 months ago
Reply to  Mike Harrell

As the weird car guy in most of my car groups, I get ‘offered’ these when they come up for sale (“Hey Dogapult, here’s one of those weird Chinese things, you should buy it”). It’s an interesting look at some of the first ‘cars’ China tried to send to the States, and certainly a look at how far they’ve come. But man, I’ve never seen one that wasn’t in absolutely trashed condition. I have to imagine they did not wear well. I hope some survive, somewhere, but I don’t need one in my fleet.
Now, if you’ve got an old Chery hiding out somewhere…

UnseenCat
UnseenCat
8 months ago

This is sort of like an alternate universe where the Cushman three-wheelers and imitators of the 1950s never really went away, and instead thrived…

Toecutter
Toecutter
8 months ago

All of these look to have crap aerodynamics, are tall, and are underpowered.

I want to see the sports car equivalent of one of these. Something low slung, slippery, lightweight, and narrow like a 2002 VW 1L concept, except with almost 1 kW peak power per kg of vehicle. I bet something like this could pass Chinese safety standards weighing in under 300 kg, and it would not cost much to give it a 300kW drive system and AWD with hub motors in each wheel. A 7-10 kWh battery pack would be all you needed for decent 200+ mile range if the aerodynamics were a key focus. A cheaper version with only 50 kW and RWD would still accelerate quite fast, too.

Last edited 8 months ago by Toecutter
Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
8 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

@ 28 mph top speed, aero << comfort and practicality.

Toecutter
Toecutter
8 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

I’m talking about making something like this that tops out closer to 128 mph, rather than 28 mph.

A.lthough, even at 28 mph, aero has a massive impact on range. My custom built 3-wheeler gets over 200 miles range at 28 mph on 1.5 kWh. It helps that it also weighs only 91 lbs ready to ride. Those vehicles above would struggle to get 20 miles range on the same size of battery.

Last edited 8 months ago by Toecutter
Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
8 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Would three people fit in your 3 wheeler? Could it still operate with the weight of a few hundred pounds of goods and people? Does it have ANY crash protection even just a bumper?

Toecutter
Toecutter
8 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

It seats only one.

Its maximum gross vehicle weight rating, fully loaded, is 300 lbs, but could carry more with a trailer. I carry groceries in the trunk space.

The body does provide a degree of crash protection, as in “better than nothing”, but not by much. For whatever it’s worth, when it got rear-ended by a truck last year at a stop light the rear bulkhead structure prevented me from being injured. There are no bumpers, although the body shell acts as one.

The next iteration when complete with roll cage and safety harness will probably be at least as safe as small classic sports cars from the mid 20th century, maybe even safer. It’s expected to weigh around 100 lbs ready to ride.

What I proposed building with the initial comment would be a narrow tandem two-seater like the VW 1-Litre. Adding that 2nd occupant greatly increases the mass that the entire chassis and vehicle must have in order to accommodate the added load without mechanical failure. A two or three seater weighing comparably to a motorcycle is possible, but a one-seater can weigh as much as an e-bike and handle the load of the rider at speed.

Last edited 8 months ago by Toecutter
Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
8 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

While I agree there is considerable room for improvement in these offerings from the People’s Republic a direct comparison between your 3 wheeler and these things seems to me a bit unfair. They are intended for heavier duty and I’d assume have somewhat more crash protection. Your 3 wheeler is – from what little I’ve seen of it posted here – essentially a college engineering project.

“The next iteration when complete with roll cage and safety harness will probably be at least as safe as small classic sports cars from the mid 20th century, maybe even safer.”

Based on my experiences with such cars that’s a VERY low bar. My TR-3 had absolutely zero OEM modern safety features, not even seat belts, a padded dash (it DID have a nice chromed grab bar for your passenger to smash their head into), collapsible steering column nor any rollover protection at all. It could however (theoretically) do 100 mph and had an even less safe rear shelf “seat” for kids, pets or cargo.

Times were different then.

All that said how to these Chinese EVs compare to your e-GT-6? To me that is the better benchmark.

Toecutter
Toecutter
8 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

The point of the comparison is to mention that there is an unexploited niche that has potential: a micro-supercar of sorts. It would be very inexpensive to build from a materials cost perspective, require a very small battery for long range, could be light enough to be powered with inexpensive off-the-shelf ebike parts, and it would possibly be affordable in its home country with mass production, but have appeal all over the world.

In a wreck, I’d rather be in a TR3 than a motorcycle. But it also matters what kind of wreck…

The electric GT6 only needs roughly 100-150 Wh/mile when driven gently. I still need to finish it before I can get some serious testing done. Reverend Gadget built one that can cruise LA freeways at the speed limit using about 100-120 Wh/mile. That is significantly more efficient than the vehicles above. With a roll cage, I’d trust it over these Chinese microcars.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
8 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

The electric GT6 only needs roughly 100-150 Wh/mile when driven gently. I still need to finish it before I can get some serious testing done. Reverend Gadget built one that can cruise LA freeways at the speed limit using about 100-120 Wh/mile. That is significantly more efficient than the vehicles above.

Is it?

(Please feel free to check my maths and reasoning:)

The Umi YM2000DP:

  • 60V 58AH lead acid battery pack
  • manufacturer claims a range of 37 miles

60V 58AH works out to 3.48kWh. With a range of 37 miles that’s 94 Wh/mile, considerably more efficient than even Gadget’s machine.

Zongshen X3 Fuxing

  • 60V20A lead-acid
  • 25-kilometer (15.5 mile) range.

Assuming this is a misprint of 60V 20Ah that works out to 1.2kWh for 15.5 miles or 77Wh/mile.

Aonew QH-T

  • 60V, 58Ah lead-acid
  • manufacturer claims a range of 80 kilometers (50 miles), which seems wildly optimistic. I have never met an LSEV with such a range. Heck, even with a 70V, 58Ah it wouldn’t do 80 kilometers in one charge.

Another 3.48kWh battery with a sketchily claimed range of 50 miles works out to 69.6 Wh/mile. Even with some backtracking on the range its still possibly as or more efficient than 100-120 Wh/mile

No none of these are anywhere near capable of freeway speeds as they are. That’s not their purpose, they’re golf carts not race cars. They are however more efficient than your EV examples that can hit highway speeds.

The point of the comparison is to mention that there is an unexploited niche that has potential: a micro-supercar of sorts. It would be very inexpensive to build from a materials cost perspective, require a very small battery for long range, could be light enough to be powered with inexpensive off-the-shelf ebike parts, and it would possibly be affordable in its home country with mass production, but have appeal all over the world.

I agree wholehartedly. I’d love to see China do exactly that if only for bragging rights and national pride. Why they haven’t is a mystery.

Toecutter
Toecutter
8 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

The difference is that Gadget’s GT6’s efficiency is obtained at freeway speeds, between 55-70 mph. Not 28 mph. That makes a massive difference in road loading, where aerodynamic drag ends up dominating the total load, moreso than all other sources of load combined. At 30 mph, energy consumption is roughly half, approaching that of these microvehicles, but only in cases where traffic density is light and there isn’t constant stop and go driving. With lots of starts and stops, the mass of the GT6 works against it and efficiency begins to approach or even become worse than what it is on the highway. I suspect the same would apply to these microvehicles.

At lower speeds of ~20 mph, mass and rolling resistance are the dominant sources of energy consumption for a heavier vehicle like a car.

I wouldn’t be surprised if someone, somewhere, in China built a proof of concept of what I described. However, people with more money than brains, especially the upper management of corporations, tend to just copy everyone else, and are generally reluctant to do something unique or risky for fear of it not making a profit. Why no one with any money or clout hasn’t done this and made a sellable product is likely because the thought has never even crossed their mind to even try.

There’s low hanging fruit waiting to be plucked, but no one sees it because it doesn’t currently exist in the mainstream consciousness.

My vehicle draws attention everywhere it goes and there is definitely interest. People have asked me where they could buy one or if I could make one for them, but given the cost of hand-building a vehicle without economies of scale, they quickly change their mind when I quote them a price. If it cost something akin to a small motorcycle or even a decent electric bicycle thanks to the benefit of mass production, they might re-evaluate their position.

Last edited 8 months ago by Toecutter
Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
8 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

“At lower speeds of ~20 mph, mass and rolling resistance are the dominant sources of energy consumption for a heavier vehicle like a car.”

Well there’s certainly room for improvement there. The
heavy lead acid batteries can’t be helping. Who knows what kind of metal they use and those tires surely aren’t low rolling resistance. At least they (probably) aren’t using glass. And the electronics…well those might double as the cabin heater. Gotta make some cuts to hit that $550-$700 price point though.

Now imagine how efficient those cars would be with pounds shaved off, better rubber, better electronics… Who knows, they might even be able to live up to the manufacturers claims.

Toecutter
Toecutter
8 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Who knows, they might even be able to live up to the manufacturers claims.

Very true. Manufacturers routinely exaggerate their claims. Finding a company that is honest or even overly conservative with their claims is the exception, and not the rule.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the CALB CA100FI batteries I purchased for the GT6 exceeded their nameplate capacity rating by roughly 10% and could exceed their max current rate without damage by a factor of 3. AND you can use them in a single series string without a BMS, as long as they’ve had an initial bottom balance. How do I know they have no damage? Because other hobbyists have gotten the same specs and their packs went on to last their normal life span when they were similarly used, and when I last bench tested mine they delivered the same capacity and current as they did when they were new, along with all of the batteries being within 0.001V of each other at rest. I wouldn’t demand that from any other battery. My batteries are now a decade old, and they function as new, but I do have less than 10,000 miles on them, so they haven’t been cycled much. I plan to rack up six-digit mileage on them when I have the car ready for it.

The Molicel P42A I have for my trike are never going to have their specs exceeded, and with these, a BMS is absolutely obligatory, not optional(unless at some point I want to risk having a spectacular fire). But these batteries pack quite a punch in terms of gravimetric energy density and power density. My 20 lb assembled pack can store 1.8 kWh(I use only 1.5 kWh of it to improve cycle life) and make 15 kW continuous and 30 kW peak. All for about $400 in cells, an $80 BMS, $10 of copper sheeting and nickel strip, and $10 of steel, wood, and styrofoam for a housing. For now, I only need 10 kW from them with a single motor, but if I later add motors to the front wheels for AWD and decide that I want to start trolling the local Hellcats and sport bikes, 30 kW will be enough to do the job. A pack that could give me 200 miles range driven normally around town only needing 150-300W most of the time, could easily drop that to 10 miles range when hooning like a madman using 20-30 kW everywhere and accelerating to 100+ mph with lots of hard braking, assuming I don’t melt the motors in the process!

Last edited 8 months ago by Toecutter
Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
8 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

How much of that are you able to capture with regenerative braking?

Toecutter
Toecutter
8 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

I live in a hilly area, so the trike’s controller often recaptures between 6% and 15% of used energy depending upon traffic conditions and how hard I ride it. The harder I ride, the less is recaptured from regen. Same if the area is flatter.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
8 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

That sounds very low:

“It’s estimated that most hybrids capture up to 90 percent of energy normally lost through heat during braking and use it to recharge the battery through electrical motor resistance, thus helping to preserve and replenish range in an electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle.”

https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/how-regenerative-brakes-work

Any way to improve yours?

Toecutter
Toecutter
8 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

When I state used energy, that is ALL energy used on the trip.

When the quote above claims hybrids capture up to 90% energy lost as heat through braking, it means exactly that. Just the energy lost through braking.

In my case, most energy is lost through wind resistance, rolling resistance, and accelerating the vehicle up to speed. Comparatively little is lost from braking. I’m almost certain that when using regen, I’m capturing at least 30% of the kinetic energy that would be otherwise lost through heat. The 90% in the quote above is an upper boundary, and is not typical in the real world. 30-40% is more common, at least before synchronous reluctance motors were in common use. I have a 3ph PMDC motor which is not nearly as efficient.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
8 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Fair enough. You regen through a single rear drive wheel correct? How good is the braking performance on 100% regen?

Toecutter
Toecutter
8 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

I regen using the motor mounted in the rear wheel. I have the regen set to 750W and limit the regen torque to 20 Nm, so it’s not a strong regen force. It’s slightly more deceleration than the engine brake of a manual-transmission equipped car, which is perfectly fine for use in non-panic stop situations where I approach a stop light or stop sign planned in advance and at ease in a gentle manner to efficiently recapture kinetic energy and avoid losing rear wheel traction even if the roads are slick from rain. I can do about 80% of my stops without having to use the front hydraulic disc brakes or rear cable-pull disc brake.

It’s part of the reason I can cruise around at 30-35 mph in a hilly area in traffic and only need 8-10 Wh/mile when the weather is fair or good. Increase that consumption by 50% in the winter because the denser air coupled with the rolling resistance of the tires greatly increasing from the cold has an impact on road loading. Without that regen, range/efficiency would notably suffer, especially from all of the hills around here.

I have a torque plate on the drive side bolted to the frame holding the axle in place inside the dropouts to prevent anything from coming loose during hard accelerations, and on the non-drive side, I have a torque arm that keeps the axle in place during regen, which is not as strong.

What I really love about the regen is that if I ever run my battery dead and can’t find a place to charge, I can operate it purely on pedal power and use any downhills and stops to recapture energy. In 30 miles of unassisted pedaling-only riding, I can recover 2-5 miles of usable electric range at 30-35 mph cruising speeds thanks to this weak 750W of regen.

If I ever go AWD with a motor in each wheel, I’d feel more confident using regen for harder braking, but as it currently is, this would not greatly increase my overall riding efficiency much or recapture any massive amount of extra energy, UNLESS I had to ride down a mountain road and reduce my elevation thousands of feet within a few miles of road while having lots of low-speed corners interrupted by steep descents. It is nice to have multiple methods for both braking and propulsion for a variety of reasons.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
8 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

How hard/expensive/practical would it be to have regen ABS on such an AWD system to REALLY max it out?

In other words have the drag of the generators ride the limit of adhesion of the tires to maximize both stopping and energy capture while minimizing frictional braking, and back off a bit if lockup occurs.

Toecutter
Toecutter
8 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Easy to do, for no additional cost to the motors/controllers needed for AWD. The controllers can detect wheel slip and correct it much more quickly than my reaction time. Configuring the computer to control the system appropriately is how it is done. The high-end controllers that have the ability to output ridiculous amounts of power in a small package are highly configurable and versatile. Since I want an over-powered 20-30 kW system anyhow, the regen costs nothing extra on top of it by virtue of the parts available that can provide tht sort of power.

The tires are narrow and designed for low rolling resistance with low traction compared to typical car tires or motorcycle tires. They’re 16×2.25″ in DOT size, and their traction is especially terrible in rain and snow, but still usable with a reasonable degree of safety as long as one rides prudently. When I hoon it, I am aware of their limitations, and am not at all disappointed with these tires.

For the rear wheel, held in place by a torque plate and torque arm, regen is limited well below the tractive limit of the tire to prevent loss of rear wheel traction. Adding motors up front would allow me to greatly increase that braking force in the rear plus provide even more regen braking force in the front than the rear, because the braking bias would stay appropriately balanced for the circumstance and weight distribution while maintaining traction and all three motors would be contributing to the braking force making rear-wheel traction not nearly as critical for the ability to remain in control of the vehicle in the event that rear-wheel traction is lost.

The current configuration allows a gentle pull of the rear brake lever to activate regen, and a moderate pull to begin engaging the rear brake caliper. The rear brake is also functional as a parking brake, with the lever lockable. It is not difficult to lose traction if the cable pull rear brake is engaged without the front brakes engaged. The hydraulic brakes up front are preferred for any panic stops, and they stop it nice and evenly from top speed faster than the vehicle can accelerate. One of the reasons I have a mechanical brake in the rear is as an emergency brake incase the hydraulic system ever fails in some way and the regen decides not to work and/or I need more braking force than the regen can provide. The rear cable-pull brake is very much non-ideal to use and even dangerous if you must rely on it alone from anything over 15 mph. The light regen in the rear is a lot more predictable, and is gentle enough to consistently stop the vehicle at city-appropriate speeds of 35 mph or less without worry of losing critical rear tire traction while strong enough to stop the vehicle in time without needing to apply the front brakes for most stops. I ALWAYS use the front hydraulic brakes when the rear regen is insufficient to stop quickly enough, even in a non-panic stop. AWD motors with regen would provide a delightful degree of redundancy, and allow me to use exclusively regen to come to a complete stop 99.9% of the time instead of roughly 80% of the time.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
8 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Thanks for the detailed reply. Sounds like a plan. I much prefer reading about this kind of thing to yet another boring overpriced gas guzzler hypercar or air hauling, pedestrian threatening pickup truck.

Last edited 8 months ago by Cheap Bastard
Toecutter
Toecutter
8 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

I’m a fellow cheap bastard, and I built this vehicle with a cheap bastard’s ethos in mind. I can go from St. Louis to Kansas City on $0.25 worth of electricity. To drive a 25 mpg ICE car the same distance at $4.00/gallon would cost $32.00 in gasoline. I’ll never have to worry about an energy crisis pricing me out of long-distance transportation. In terms of efficiency, my 8-10 Wh/mile is the equivalent of 3,300-4,200 mpg. The concept has been proven, and it is certainly possible to make an actual car with the same sort of efficiency. It would certainly appeal to the cheap bastards among us. Throw in some hooning potential and the ability to accelerate like a supercar when wanted, and the appeal would be greatly broadened.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
8 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Hooning is fun and all but not really that important. Being able to get around safely and cheaply with some ability to transport cargo in a timely manner IS. Kudos to you for finding a way.

“I’ll never have to worry about an energy crisis pricing me out of long-distance transportation.”

Directly, perhaps not. Indirectly perhaps. You would I think still be somewhat dependent on the system for things delivered by truck, ship, rail or air and maybe on grid electricity too. A busted wheel or whatever might strand you just as much as your brodozer owning neighbor with an empty tank. Best to stock up on a few spares. Nothing you can do about the roads though, nor the others you share them with. When the worst happens there’s more to worry about than fuel.

Plus if such a thing DID happen and you were the only guy in town with a working vehicle you’d have more new super best friends than a pickup truck owner on move out day at the dorms. Ugh!

Toecutter
Toecutter
8 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

I thought of that when designing this vehicle. It was designed with “apocalypse” in mind.

I designed it to where I can cannibalize standard parts from commonly available cheap bicycles.

I have a truing stand to repair busted wheels. My 16″ DOT rims use 12ga bicycle spokes, and could use 13ga if necessary, and these 16″ rims can also fit 20″ bicycle tires. If a wheel completely fails, I could find a junk bicycle and lace a 20″ bicycle rim to the hub and the overall diameter would be very close to what I currently have with the 16″ DOT rim, and the 16″ DOT rim can also fit most sizes of 20″ bicycle tire.

Childrens’ BMX bikes have all of the parts needed to fix my wheels to something still usable but of a lesser spec. I wouldn’t trust bicycle rims for more than 35 mph cruising speeds, but 35 mph is still better than walking. Also, BMX bikes tend to use 20″ tires and tubes, making them among the most common sizes available in case I need new tires and cannot find replacements for what I currently have. I also don’t trust bicycle tires at high speeds, but they can still handle speeds that are much faster than walking.

I’m planning on building both a camper trailer and a cargo trailer for it as well.

Also, to increase versatility, I’ve thought of adding a 25cc Honda GX25-T3 gasoline engine. Not only could it be converted to run on ethanol, but could serve as a 1 horsepower backup power supply for the EV drive system, and in a pinch, even power the rear wheel directly. This system would only add 15 lbs to the bike. Using the ICE, at minimum a triple-digit fuel mpg would be assured, four-digit mpg still a possibility.

So I’d end up with three methods of directly powering the vehicle, pedaling, electricity, and ICE, plus the ability to charge the battery with solar panels or even regen(using human power) or to use gasoline or ethanol using the ICE as a generator. And I’d have three methods of braking, hydraulic disc brakes up front, mechanical disc brake in the rear, and regen.

This sort of versatility maximizes the options available to keep it operational.

Last edited 8 months ago by Toecutter
Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
8 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

“This sort of versatility maximizes the options available to keep it operational.”

Bonus points for adding 120 VAC converter and a tri fuel carburetor for NG/propane fueling versatility on top of ethanol with that Honda engine on your bike. I get 1 HP isn’t a lot of power, you won’t be running your whole house on it BUT in a pinch a few hundred watts of mobile, always on demand power could be handy. NG and propane are also much easier on ICE, especially the oil. Methane as a single carbon molecule doesn’t form soot when burned so that keeps the oil cleaner. NG and propane also have no expiration. The waste heat will also be quite welcome in cold weather so include a system to get that heat into your trailer.

NG and propane compatibility can also be quite handy for your land-in-the-boondocks dream if it has its own NG well or biogas generator. Some folks have enough free gas coming out of the ground (and/or the pigs) to power the entire place. As we all know s/he who controls the gas controls bartertown.

You might even be doing the world a favor: If you don’t burn that methane it might end up in the atmosphere as an even worse GHG than CO2.

Want to do even more good? Use the exhaust for mosquito traps.

I think if you want very long term prepper independence keeping a few set of tires and tubes in a vacuum bag to prevent rot and oxidation would be a good idea. Sure secondhand rubber might be had at bartertown but at what quality? I don’t think you can count on the post apocalyptic availability of good rubber. Even in these pre-apocalypse times I’ve bought more than a few bikes that had plenty of tread left yet the tires were useless simply due to sun damage and dryrot.

The vacuum would need to be replenished periodically but you can also fill the bag with a bit of inert gas…like CO2. Yet another good use for that Honda’s exhaust after its been dried 😉

Last edited 8 months ago by Cheap Bastard
Toecutter
Toecutter
8 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

With the current body shell, 1 horsepower is enough to cruise 40+ mph on flat ground. With the next one, 1 horsepower might be enough for 55 mph.

Cruising along at 30-35 mph running the ICE as a generator, it would be able to recharge the battery as the vehicle was in use. Hypothetically cruising on a state highway at 70 mph using the motor for propulsion and the ICE as a generator, the ICE could greatly extend the range before the battery is depleted while getting between XXX-1,XXX mpg.

I do have backups of bicycle tires ECE-R75 rated for 50 km/h continuous ebike use, but not of the DOT tires I’m using. I plan to acquire backups of the latter. I don’t have the spare tires vacuum sealed, but they are indoors inside of a box at room temperature with air that is neither dry nor humid, so they will remain viable for many years like that. I bought them ahead of time foreseeing price increases due to inflation, and sure enough…

Before switching to the DOT tires, tires on a per mile basis was my single largest recurring component of this vehicle’s operating cost, at just over $0.01/mile(although with current prices instead of averaging cost over the vehicle lifetime of operating, might be closer to $0.015/mile for good quality electric bicycle tires). The DOT tires have yet to have any noticable wear and I imagine it will take many tens of thousands of miles for them to wear out, and might outlast the vehicle. We shall see. This vehicle has over 70k miles on it since being built in the kitchen of an apartment, and I’d go through a set of Schwalbe Marathon Greenguard up front every 4,000 miles or so(with rotating them) and a Schwalbe Marathon Plus or Plus Tour every 20,000 miles or so in the back. I used to have 20″ bicycle tires up front and a 26″ bicycle tire in the rear, but now I have 16×2.25″ DOT on all three wheels with a smaller diameter rear wheel. These DOT tires have a lot more material on them and in the long run may prove significantly cheaper to use. The next most expensive recurring component of my operating expense is chain at $0.004/mile. I can get 15,000-20,000 miles out of a cheap KMC 7-speed chain before it has 0.75% stretch. I can get 20,000-30,000 miles out of a cheap Shimano rear derailleur before I have to take it apart and put in some new $10 jockey wheels, by keeping the spring protected from corrosion and checking it on a monthly basis to assure it has grease.

The biggest portion of the cost of using this vehicle on a per mile basis was a combination of building it and making performance upgrades, because the recurring operating expenses and maintenance items are so low in cost on a per mile basis. Per mile, it’s significantly cheaper than either the light rail, or the bus, and WAY more convenient to use. In the present it serves as a giant middle finger to everyone trying to extract money from me for simply needing transportation, but in a crisis situation it could serve as something much more than that. Either way, I’m glad I built it.

Last edited 8 months ago by Toecutter
Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
8 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

“In the present it serves as a giant middle finger to everyone trying to extract money from me for simply needing transportation”

Not just transportation but parking. I imagine you can pull up right to the front door of places you want to go, lock your machine to any convenient fixed object and take your time getting on with whatever you need to do while others have to circle the area till something opens up, then run back and forth to feed the meter of the closest open parking spot a couple of blocks away.

“Schwalbe Marathon Plus or Plus Tour”

Good tires. I use them as well on my mountain bikes. Only one puncture and the very sharp thorn was over an inch long.

I’ve also been pretty happy with 27″ Continental tubes and Ride Tour tires on my vintage touring bikes. For non puncture resistant tubes and tires Thornbuster and Rhinodillo liners have worked well too.

“I can get 20,000-30,000 miles out of a cheap Shimano rear derailleur before I have to take it apart and put in some new $10 jockey wheels”

Why do you need a derailleur? Do you use a multi sprocket freewheel/cartridge or does it help keep tension on the chain for suspension travel?

Edit: Nevermind, I got so wrapped up in talk of motors I forgot this is still a bicycle. Duh.

Last edited 8 months ago by Cheap Bastard
Toecutter
Toecutter
8 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Yes, it’s a “bicycle”. A “bicycle” I can fly down State Highway 141 in at 50 mph. 🙂

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
8 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Going fast isn’t the hard part. For instance I can go a whole lot faster (and get even BETTER energy economy) with no bike at all just by flying off a really high bridge. Its the even faster negative acceleration you gotta watch out for.

Brian Ash
Brian Ash
8 months ago

Can I get all 10 of them in a variety pack on Alibaba?

Will LSEV’s ever become a thing in US cities? Eventually ya’d think they would, many younger people are all in on e-bikes/scooters in urban areas.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
8 months ago
Reply to  Brian Ash

They are a thing in some areas, mostly warmer climates and where you have master planned communities with everything self contained within, so residents do only minimal trips outside on faster roads

Automotiveflux
Automotiveflux
8 months ago

These are cool! I’d like to see a racing series for these where they get pushed to their limits on a mixed surface (maybe with some jumps)

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
8 months ago
Reply to  Automotiveflux

This is the kind of genius I’m here for.

Duke of Kent
Duke of Kent
8 months ago

If you told me these were generated by AI I would have believed you.

That X3 is Fuxing awesome, though, and I want one.

SNL-LOL Jr
SNL-LOL Jr
8 months ago
Reply to  Duke of Kent

If Fuxing X3 should be westernized before they sell it in Europe. They should call it Menage a Trois.

Outofstep
Outofstep
8 months ago

I want the Umi! Having like 4 of them in different colors would suit me just fine. Also for some reason the Dalle made me think of Marvin the Paranoid Android.

JDE
JDE
8 months ago

with Lead acid Batteries and questionable longevity(so likely hastened replacement) How clean are these really? It is somewhat weird we can barely buy an electric bicycle though for these prices. I would probably let my kid take one of these over a 25MPH electric Bike with no suspension to school.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
8 months ago
Reply to  JDE

They’re clean until a white man with a chainsaw approaches

Lockleaf
Lockleaf
8 months ago
Reply to  JDE

While i can’t speak to the longevity question, the lead acid batteries I wouldn’t consider a major enviro hazard. We have long mastered recycling those, and I recall reading that lead acid batteries have one of the highest actual recycling rates of all products in the world. Something huge, like 80-90% of all lead acid batteries sold get recycled (At least in the US).

06dak
06dak
8 months ago
Reply to  JDE

Remember what you need to compare them to… not a modern bike or vehicle, but a straight piped carbureted 2 stroke poking along that used to power vehicles like this. Compared to THAT blue smoked monstrosity yes, it’s cleaner.

JDE
JDE
8 months ago
Reply to  06dak

I just keep thinking about the Exide plant in Vernon California. We are talking California here, so enviro nazi’s are a real thing. but they let that place emit pollutants n the recycling process for over a decade before they were shut down. I imagine in places like China and India this becomes something swept under a rug.

Amberturnsignalsarebetter
Amberturnsignalsarebetter
8 months ago

I’m pretty sure that Yaolon YL3000DZK qualifies as a wagon.

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