One of the best parts of scouring the depths of Alibaba is finding all of these fun-looking electric vehicles that no one seems to build in the West. And while this is normally an adventure in window-shopping, this week’s find for the Awesomely Weird Alibaba Electric Vehicle of the Week really makes me want to own one of these electric battle tanks.
Realistically speaking, at just $3,000, how can I afford not to own my own electric tank?
Sure, it is technically listed as “kid-friendly”, but that doesn’t mean it’s adult-hostile. At least not if you’re standing on this side of the firing line.
The video clearly shows a late-stage kid at heart driving one of these with plenty of room in the passenger seat, so I think adult drivers are definitely not out of the picture.
Plus, this Chinese electric tank has some decent power as well, so a couple adult riders shouldn’t be a problem.
The tank comes outfitted with a pair of 3 kW motors, one for each track. If my math is correct, that’s 6 kW total, or roughly 8 horsepower.
There’s even a top speed of 30 km/h (18 mph), which seems weirdly fast for a tracked vehicle just 2.15 meters (7 feet) long. There’s a low speed gear that drops the top speed down to as little as 5 km/h (3 mph), which may be better suited for tough hill climbs and beachhead landings.
The vendor even claims it can climb inclines of up to 40º, which the hill climbing video would seem to support.
The craziest thing about it though is that the main cannon is fully functional for firing armor-piercing rounds.
Just kidding! I think it’s a painted piece of PVC pipe. Actually, the real craziest thing about it is the massive battery pack. At 72V and 200Ah, you’ve got 14.4 kWh of capacity. That’s roughly the size of a flagship electric motorcycle battery. And it’s not some cheap lead acid pack, but rather a lithium-ion battery.
The fact that the entire vehicle only costs US $3,000 makes me wonder how good the battery quality can be though. Or perhaps it’s like the electric mini-truck I bought, where the 6 kWh battery wasn’t included in the too-good-to-be-true sounding US $2,000 price.
Just don’t try and say that this electric tank isn’t full-featured! There’s camo netting on the roll bar which is perfect for being inconspicuous. The last thing you want ruining your day is that return missile strike raining on your parade.
One thing that is still confusing me though is the steering control system. As a tracked vehicle, I would have expected a pair of control levers, one for each track motor. But in this case the electric tank has a steering wheel and an accelerator pedal.
There must be some control system that modulates the speed of each track motor based on how far the steering wheel is turned, which is frankly much more complicated than I would have expected.
Regardless of the steering control, this electric tank looks so much cooler than the cheaper toys we’ve seen. This one actually has a huge battery, powerful motors, an impressive top speed and is adult-friendly.
I really don’t need any more weird Chinese vehicles taking up space in the garage, but this one is tempting me mighty hard. Perhaps the only thing keeping me sane here is the experience of getting bent over the fender of my other weird vehicles purchased from Alibaba. Keep in mind that the cheap sounding MSRP on Alibaba is never what you’ll actually pay. My weird purchases have usually ended up costing around 4x the advertised price by the time they land at my home. From ocean freight to customs charges to various taxes and paying brokers/warehouses/ports/anyone who touches the shipment, the fees seriously add up.
So this is another find that I’ll unfortunately have to admire from afar. But that is perhaps for the best, since this is a standoff weapon anyway.