Remember when the coolest kids on the block had those ride-on PowerWheels Jeeps? Well, just because we’re adults now doesn’t mean we can’t still have the same type of fun. This week’s entry for the Awesomely Weird Alibaba Electric Vehicle of the Week is a fun-looking little electric Jeep with room for two adventure-loving adults.
I knew it was going to be tough to top the awesome little $4,000 electric pickup truck I found for last week’s feature.
But I think I might have actually succeeded, because now I really need someone to talk me out of buying one of these electric Jeep things.
Styled after the original Willys Jeep from WWII, the little electric jeep sports a 1.2 kW continuous-rated motor and top speed of 40 km/h (25 mph). Sure, that’s not terribly fast, but the original Willys Jeep barely hit 60 mph, so it’s not that far off. And it still seems to offer decent performance, as you can see from the offroad hill climb video footage below.
Of course, this Chinese electric version isn’t as capable as the original US military vehicle. Its small stature means adults look a bit funny operating it. But with a max load of 230 kg (507 lb), two adult riders shouldn’t be a problem. And you’ll forget all about how silly you’ll look when you see the price: just $1,280!
And that’s not even the cheapest model. The company’s sales rep Alan Zhen was kind enough to go over the various models and trims with me.
Incredibly, he offered to hook me up with a lead acid battery version for as little as $890! But I told him, “Listen Alan, I want the works. Set me up with your nicest electric mini Jeep, I’ll spring for the lithium battery.”
So with a 60V 42Ah (2.5 kWh) Li-ion upgrade that came with a claimed range of 80 km (50 miles), Alan was prepared to put me in a new electric mini Jeep today for the low, low price of $1,280.
Alan could of course see that I was a man of culture with refined tastes, so he drew my attention to the company’s list of upgrades.
I could have seat belts and leather seats for an extra $70, a rear bumper with a tow hitch for $35, an electric winch for $65, and something called wheel eyebrows (which turned out to be fender flares) for a mere $10.
Unfortunately, Alan had mistaken me for more of a high-roller than I truly am.
I politely declined the many interesting upgrades (though you can see them for yourself in the product catalogue here). Then I asked him for the shipping cost for a Jeep to my local Miami port, where I would have to pick it up or arrange my own final transportation.
I was bracing myself for a sky-high shipping price, but Alan slapped me with a surprise that I hadn’t expected. The $1,280 price he had quoted me was for a minimum order quantity of five units. For my single lonely sample, he was going to have to charge me an extra $200 fee. Ouch.
By this point though, Alan and I were already good buddies and I was basically committed. Well, emotionally committed to this charade anyways. And to my pleasant surprise, shipping turned out to be weirdly inexpensive.
Alan quoted me a shipping charge of just $195 for sea shipping. A mere 37 days later, he explained, my beautiful little electric Jeep would ease into port as gingerly as an old man into a warm bath.
So for just $1,675 (or more likely $1,710 because, come on, you’ve just GOT to spring for the windshield upgrade), this awesome little EV could be yours!
And yes, I realize this likely isn’t a street-legal vehicle. It probably won’t even have the certifications for use as a Low Speed Vehicle (LSV) or Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV). But off-road appears to be where this thing shines anyways.
I did a bit of digging from the product photos on the Alibaba page and it looks like several rental companies operate these as attraction vehicles. I could definitely see renting one on vacation, or even potentially buying a fleet to rent out myself if I lived in an appropriate area.
Even just as a little utility buggy for around a work site or farm, this thing would be a blast.
Hell, buy a dozen and open a paintball range. Then set the local high school kids loose on each other in these things and kick back to watch the hilarity ensue!
There are so many uses, I’m sure you can think of even more in the comments section below.
Of course, by this point I’ve basically become a mini electric Jeep connoisseur. As I’ve learned in my hours of research, not all mini electric Jeeps are made equal. There are apparently several models out there.
But rest assured, I’ve found the good one. Or at least that’s what this handy infographic tells me, along with helping me spot the lesser models by counting their grill openings.
Would I buy one?
The point of this weekly series is to find and share fun and sometimes weird electric vehicles from Alibaba, one of the best places to find such oddities.
Most of the window shopping I do on Alibaba ends at just that. But I’ve made dozens of purchases on the platform as well as hundreds of purchases on the more retail-oriented AliExpress platform.
I probably won’t buy one of these for myself, but I’m still not ruling it out. That said, I’m not endorsing Alibaba or this product specifically for anyone. Purchasing on Alibaba is only for the brave. Sure, they hold your money in escrow for you and are pretty good at mitigation if you have a disagreement with a seller. But it still takes a lot of careful communication to ensure that you’re ordering exactly what you expect.
Fortune favors the bold though, and so if anyone does take the leap and snags one of these inexpensive little electric Jeeps, I’d love to hear how it rides!
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