A Chinese company trump Tata Nano by selling the world’s cheapest car — but it still looks like a giant matchbox
- Ratan Tata’s teensy minsy car, the
Tata Nano, will no longer be called the world’s cheapest car.
- Jason Torchinsky, senior editor of an online motor magazine Jalopnik, recently received the ‘4 Wheels Electric Mobility Scooter’ from the e-commerce giant Alibaba — in a box.
- The car is priced between $930 and $1200.
AdvertisementRatan Tata’s teensy minsy car, the Tata Nano, will no longer be called the world’s cheapest car at $2,500 before taxes. Changli, a Chinese company, is now selling a tiny electric car at a much cheaper price.
Jason Torchinsky, senior editor of an online motor magazine Jalopnik, recently received the ‘4 Wheels Electric Mobility Scooter’ from the e-commerce giant Alibaba — in a box.
The car is priced at $930 and $1200 with the batteries (approximately ₹70,000 to ₹90,000). However, Torchinsky got it for $3,000 since he ordered it from the United States. However, that is still cheap for a car in America where the average price of an automobile is $36,000.
The car is an electric vehicle (EV) manufactured in Jiangsu, China and is described as being the most suitable for “leisure commute while picking up children.” While there is ample space for three people, the car can only move at a maximum speed of 35 kilometres per hour. Unlike normal cars that have two divided seats in the front, this EV has a joined bench seat that’s roomy enough for one person.
It has LED tail lights with LED projector headlamps and LED indicators. The car also includes add-ons like a spare tyre, extra side mirrors, roof rack, bumpers — and even an electric air pump.
There’s even a mini-sun roof mechanism up top that opens up to let in some fresh air. The steering wheel is at the centre, much like a convention auto-rickshaw, with an all-digital dash at the back.
Even though the price of the car is dirt cheap it looks like a giant matchbox with big windows. Tata’s Nano design — the made-in-India car sold at a price of ₹100,000— was as basic as Changli’s.
Interestingly, such cars may not be seen in other parts of the world but are very popular in China. Some other examples include 4 Wheel Electric Car by Changli, P8 by Shandong Qilu Fengde and Qifeng K7 LSEV. They are just a third the size of any regular car and in some parts of China people don’t even need a driver’s license to drive these due to their slow speeds.
Despite safety concerns — and unappealing design — the cars are popular because they are “extremely cheap.” On average people have to spend between $1,000 and $2500 to purchase such cars and it breaks away from the norm that EVs are only manufactured for the super-rich.
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