Steve May 7, 2022
awesomely-weird-alibaba-electric-vehicle-of-the-week:-vanlife-in-a-‘high-speed’-electric-panel-van?

Flashy electric sports cars and massive electric trucks may grab more attention and headlines, but it’s the average-Joe electric vehicles that will make a real difference in our cities. But just because something like an electric panel van doesn’t sound flashy, that doesn’t mean it can’t be awesome in its own way! Just check out this cool electric panel van I found on my latest dumpster dive into the electric vehicle section of the massive Alibaba online shopping site. It may not be the most high-tech electric car to come out of China, but it sure makes up for it in funky charm!

And that’s what it takes to score top billing in this week’s edition of the Awesomely Weird Alibaba Electric Vehicle of the Week.

This cargo van may be described on its sales listing as a “high speed” electric vehicle, but you should remember that the EV market on Alibaba has to be viewed in context.

Compared to the litany of 15 mph funny little electric cars we’ve seen, this 45 mph electric van is approaching relativistic speeds. Put a twin in this thing and drop a brick on the accelerator to play out Einstein’s “which one ages faster?” problem in real life.

Alright, so it’s not that fast. But there are a lot of uses where 45 mph would be plenty!

As an urban delivery vehicle, a local vanlife runabout or even as Electrek‘s own zombie apocalypse car, as our overworked graphics guy seems to feel is this van’s true destiny. I guess as long as you can roll faster than a shambling zombie, you should be pretty well set.

Even if you were using it for more mundane tasks though, this van comes fully equipped.

There are two models with different lithium battery capacities, offering either 10.37 kWh or 20.74 kWh. That apparently equates to 75 or 136 miles (120 or 220 km) of range.

The accessories list is rather short at just three items, and reads, “tow hook, warning triangle, and reflective vest.” I’m not quite sure how much that warning triangle and reflective vest are going to help if you’re stuck on the side of the road. “Excuse me, passing driver. Just in case you missed my massive orange van, might I direct your attention to my vest?”

While the battery capacity is fairly decent and the list of accessories… exists, the motor seems a bit lacking in the power department. The 15 kW drivetrain offers up 20 ponies worth of power to the rear wheels. That might not sound like all that much power for a cargo van that is presumably designed to carry cargo but allow me to remind you of the 45 mph top speed.

One other note for utility: I hope you don’t get lonely, as they kind of cheaped out on the seats. There’s exactly one seat to be found in this big ol’ van. Instead of giving you a bench up front, they seemed to think there wasn’t enough cargo space in back. Thus, the passenger seat has been replaced by a void that is somehow as convenient as it is inconvenient.

That might make the whole van life idea a bit trickier, unless its a “me, myself, and I” type of treat yo’self vacation.

Even so, I’m finding it hard to complain at this price. For a mere $9,000 of legal US tender, you could be sitting pretty in the captain’s chair of your own moderately fast electric cargo van. And since the minimum order quantity is a single unit, you don’t even need friends to join in for a group buy.

One seat? No friends needed for a multi-unit order? A windowless panel van? Man, these folks really know their customer!

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