Curbside Clueless: Chinese Electric Three-Wheeler

I saw this in town today and thought of you, fellow Curbivores. I had spotted it yesterday and luckily, it hadn’t moved. Flat batteries perhaps? Trouble is, I cannot ID this Chinese three-wheeler, try as I might with several Google image searches. Surely someone out there knows?…

Although it’s unknown to me, I’m pretty sure this is an example of the cheap Chinese electric cars that are swamping a lot of the Middle Kingdom of late. There’s a whole parallel universe of three- and four-wheeled bubble cars in the Chinese world that is completely undiscovered by us long-nosed foreign devils.

No lithium-ion nonsense here, just good ol’ lead and acid batteries. Mother Earth be damned, it’s about ten times cheaper than the lithium stuff and easier to recharge. You also have to love the little chock / brick that someone put ahead of the front wheel.

The “low-speed” EV makers are plentiful in China and almost completely unregulated. Basically, as far as I understand, if your vehicle can’t reach 100 kph, Beijing isn’t interested. Periodically, some of the dozens of small EV makers get shuttered by some government agency or authority, but they usually reopen for business soon after.

Safety and comfort are not primary concerns of the manufacturer (or the buyer), really. This beats a moped in the rain and cold any day of the week. And at an average price of US$ 5000, hundreds of thousands of potential clients can afford these nowadays.

The insides of the beast are as quirky as the skin. The driver’s door opens left, while the rear passenger(s) make do with a right door. Didn’t expect to see a radio in there, did you?

I hope there’s something missing on that rear seat….

So there it is: the “badge” proudly states “Made in China,” which is a little redundant, but precious little else for folks who don’t read Chinese characters. Hence the mystery surrounding this contraption’s actual name. I did find an internet source that calls this a Huaxin XM5, but it’s tenuous. No idea what this thing is doing here in Myanmar, it’s the first time I’ve seen anything like this in the streets. So, what the Deng Xiaoping is this?