"I bought the cheapest new car in the world" for $930 on Alibaba

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/05/12/i-bought-the-cheapest-new-ca.html




… there were multiple DOT forms where I had to be sure this was classified as something other than a conventional, street-legal motor car. The particular classification for mine is similar to what is used for factory or campus utility vehicles, and can then be registered as a low-speed neighborhood electric vehicle at the state level, which I’ll tackle once it arrives.

With the $1,018.67 customs fee we’re at a grand total of $3,331.27.

Ok, so, still cheaper than this Volkswagen VW Bus, Type 2, Samba EV Conversion Kit, Regen Brakes, AC Motor 1950-1979 [VW Type 2] EV conversion kit at $7,598.0:


And somehow not this tale of woe:

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I’m guessing it is a tricycle for tax reasons?


The “tricycle” is more likely so it can be legally registered for Road Use (aka Street Legal)
As a “car” with 4 wheels, it won’t pass crash tests, but motorcycles are exempt from them.
And motorcycles can have “three wheels” making them “Trikes”.
Many of the new “Car of the Future” things we’ve seeing in the last 10 years (like the ELIO) are 3-Wheelers and are technically motorcycle TRIKES. So they are not “Cars” but the ability to register them legally for Road Use varies state by state. So does the requirement to wear a helmet!

This is the first time I have seen a 4-wheel vehicle attempt to be called a “Tricycle” for that purpose. It is possible that they can get away with it if only one rear wheel is a driven wheel and the other one is just there to keep the thing from falling over.

Edited to add: but yeah it is probably for tax reasons as well


That would make it very, um, exciting when going around corners. Especially if you live in a part of the world that experiences snow or even rain.

If you’re only going to drive one wheel I think it’s going to have to be a front wheel. Which should be pretty easy to do given that this is an electric car.

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That thing is hideous.


I wouldn’t drive that thing anywhere near another car. Looks like it’s made of cardboard.

Looks like a tarted up “Boomer Buggy” mobility scooter.

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I saw this a while back, and thought that the price couldn’t possibly be correct.

Even after reading this, I’m impressed nobody got ripped off, and that it seems to be a good value even with shipping.


My understanding: The car is classified in the US as a NEV (neighborhood electric vehicle). NEVs are speed-limited to 40 and under and can only navigate roads with 40 and under speed limits. This class has been around a while. I considered getting an NEV a decade ago, but it was well over $10K.

Something like this would be a great second car for my family. It could take my wife to work on side streets and bring me around to run errands. This model, besides being hideously ugly, looks like they cut too many corners to get the price down.


Last year I paid the same amount $3000 for a 05’ Prius w/30k miles. Swapped out the awful toyota seats for a pair volvo s60 seats from pick and pull. Great little car.


An 05 with 30k miles? For only $3000? How long was it submerged?


In it’s previous life it worked for a city municipality making sure homeowners kept the lawn in order and other such inspections. Came with a laptop mount and gps antenna.


That describes all of the roads in my area that aren’t highways. Still, the way drivers exceed the limit (and tailgate) makes me nervous. The inability to go faster means I’d probably wear out the hazard lights (and my arm) trying to get other cars to go around me. :thinking:


There are places in Europe where cars like this are common. The Netherlands comes to mind. The cars are basically a ride on lawn mower with a body and no grass cutting hardware. You can drive them on bicycle paths and as an Australian their existence confused me. Its because of the European weather that people want to get around in something with a roof and a heater for part of the year.

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The ones we have here in France are allowed on roads and you don’t have to have a driver’s license to drive them. I have always called them lawnmower cars because that’s what they sound like when they go by. They’re capped at 60 kph and they’re supposed to only be used in town, but occasionally you’ll pass one backing up traffic on a national road between cities.


I wonder, if this is possible in Germany. For minor vehicles there are special license-plates, which are basically only showing the insurance. Mostly used on small motorcycles and (lately) larger wheelchairs. But I dont know how the standards in lighting, maximum speed, braking, weight, etc. are maintained and proved. But I guess you have to go to the TÜV (technical inspection company), but it is only a basic and cheap inspection. If its less than 350kg/45kmh, then it should be easily licensed and can be driven with a basic drivers-licese, or even none, aged over 16(or 14?). Just going to the TÜV, getting a validation, go with it to an insurance-company, buy a plate valid for one year, screw it onto the thing, and ready!
Would be a nice gift for underaged teenagers.


“Hasn’t been parked underwater for at least a year
Only 2 wheels are bent enough to cause serious vibration
Only overheats when you drive over the speed limit
Bumper is loose but zip ties are currently holding
All water recently removed from transmission and differential so you are good to go
Burns approx 1 liter of oil/1k miles
Check engine light only intermittent
Fuel gauge inop
Backup camera inop”


Yes but it has those extremely intimidating bull bars on the front, so in a collision my instinct tells me it would plow straight through the enemy vehicle leaving nothing but a cloud of pink mist in its wake


I would have guessed that this vehicle would penetrate the enemy vehicle, creating a hole in its exact shape.