The unboxing video of a U.S. car reviewer has got the attention of Chinese social media with netizens mentioning it shows the growing influence of China's mobility scooter industry.
Jason Torchinsky, a senior editor of an American car review website, and one of the most recent owners a Chinese scooter, said that as "goofy and absurd as it all may be, it is not some porta-potty on wheels." His new purchase was made on the English portal of Alibaba.com, one of China's largest e-commerce companies.
Calling it "the world's cheapest new car," the editor seemed to be generally pleased with his new mobility scooter made by Chinese manufacturer Changli, which cost him around 3,000 U.S. dollars, with shipping costs and tariffs included.
Jason Torchinsky, an american car reviewer, unboxing his new Changli electric vehicle. /Jalopnik.com
He said compared with the regular price of a golf cart in the U.S. (between 5,000 to 10,000 U.S. dollars), the electric vehicle he bought was only priced at 930 U.S. dollars.
Torchinsky was even more pleased by the fact that the car body is made of metal instead of plastic, with "a real steering rack, real suspension," and related charging devices. It seems that the vehicle has everything but the name of a real car.
"How much does this actually seem like a car as opposed to some glorified mobility scooter or something, and I'm happy to say, this is a car," he said in the review.
While some Chinese low-end mobility scooters are appreciated by overseas reviewers for their cost-effectiveness, it is actually impossible to purchase the same type of mobility scooter on Taobao.com, Alibaba's domestic shopping website, because it's mostly illegal to ride on such vehicle on Chinese streets.
A mobility scooter is stopped by Chinese police. /Photo: sohu.com
This type of vehicle is more commonly known as "mobility scooters for the elderly" in Chinese, as it was first designed for the elderly or people with disabilities.
Such scooters usually don't come with a license plate and are not in compliance with most of the vehicle safety standards prescribed by China's transportation departments.
In China, there were over 830,000 cases of accidents in the last five years related to mobility scooter users, which caused more than 18,000 deaths and 186,000 injuries, according to Xinhua.