I think my favorite segment of the automotive industry right now has to be the mostly unofficial Chinese low-speed electric vehicle market. It’s mostly unregulated, dynamic, and there’s lots of room for ideas, good and bad. It’s also the place that lets a 4 horsepower electric Pagani Huayra knockoff exist.
Our friends over at Car News China brought this remarkable beast to our attention. It’s known only as ‘Supercar,’ because, dammit, that’s exactly what it is.
Part of what I love about the low-speed EV space in China is that it’s one of the few places where a single visionary can have an idea and see it into real production. Here, the visionary is 26 year-old Liu Shengqi, who wanted to make a sportscar for young people. Liu designed a car with Pagani and Ferrari styling cues as inspiration, and built a prototype in seven months.
After having to dip into the money he and his wife were given for their wedding, Liu was able to complete the prototype and, more remarkably, he was able to convince low-speed EV maker Shandong Qilu to actually put his car into production.
Just think about that for a moment. A 26 year old kid has a dream car, makes a one-off prototype on his own, and convinces a company to produce them. That’s just not the sort of thing that can really happen here in America.
Of course, the car is basically a glorified golf cart, and the pictures of the production look remarkably crude, but still! His dream car is being built, in some context! I still love this, despite the gritty realities.
In American dollars, Supercar will set you back $5470, a price that compares quite favorably to Pagani’s offerings. There’s actually two versions available: the 4 HP one that’ll do 24 MPH with a 48 mile range, and an Earth-scorching 10 HP one that do a face-peeling 36 MPH with a range of 60 miles. Both models still use lead-acid batteries because, as Car News China reminds us, those batteries are dirt cheap.
I’m calling it now: 2017 will be the Year of the Chinese Low-Speed Electric Vehicle. Mark my words.