This weird, old-timey, electric bike-car from Alibaba sells for $2,000

Originally published at: This weird, old-timey, electric bike-car from Alibaba sells for $2,000 | Boing Boing



Is it really that weird? Other than the electric hub motor this looks identical to the rental surrey bikes that I’ve seen for decades available for rent at beaches, lakes and other tourist locations.


Beach Cruiser extraordinaire. Kid seats are great for the doggo.


They have a whole fleet of these in Prospect Park in Brooklyn. The ones here aren’t electified, though, much to the chagrin of the renters who realize around the first turn in the scenic route is a long uphill. Many a Surrey being pushed uphill on foot by parents with whiny toddlers saying “faster Mommy, faster!”. The pedal-power-to-weight ratio on these is…less than ideal.


There’s a bike rental place in Golden Gate Park where tourists can rent those pedal-power surrey things. I’ve noticed that the families and tour groups who rent them always look excited when they’re embarking from the rental place and exhausted and embittered by the time they return. When you’re hauling one of those contraptions up a hill then it’s easy to cast accusations that some riders might not be pulling their weight.

So I guess the addition of an electric motor-assist could potentially be the factor that saves many a family outing.


I see a wasted opportunity with that second steering wheel inoperable. If they linked them together, the front seat passenger could take over in case of driver distraction.

When I took driver training at our high school, the cars weren’t equipped with a second wheel but they did have a brake pedal so the instructor in the front passenger seat could avert a subset of disasters.

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Seconding (3rding?) the presence of these in beach bike rental places.

I’ve actually rented one with family when the offspring were much shorter springs. Can attest to the sheer leg burn you get when you have to compensate for the slacker unfit family members not pulling their fair share of locomotion.

The lack of gears and the rather short pedal crank arms do you no favors either…


In this use case I think it would be far more common for squabbling siblings to fight each other for control of the vehicle and end up swerving into traffic.


I have never once seen people having a good time on one of these in GGP. Even a gentle hill seems like a serious slog and often cause to get out and push. I have frequently overtaken one pushing a baby stroller.

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I think BoingBoing has covered this before…even with video from a guy “driving” it around his East Coast neighborhood? That electric motor was struggling hard on the uphills, IIRC.

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Well, it does say in the specs that it’s meant for flatland use.



320kg? Plus four rider’s weight? 1500 watts at 60v?

I have an 1250 watt 60v electric tadpole trike and I can get going at a pretty good clip. That thing is barely going to move.

So what you’re saying is that chicks and geese and ducks needn’t scurry?


Aaaaaaaaa…libaba, where the cheap goes sweeping 'cross the internet!


Well it is a surrey with the fringe on top


My parents owned a driver training school when I was a teen, and our family car had a brake on the passenger side. I hated that fucking thing with the fire of 1000 suns.


surrey with a fringe on top


That really sucks. I used to operate a pedicab in Austin, and our boss had electric assist on his pedicab (one-unit tricycle, not a trailer). That thing moved so well up the downtown steepest grades.