Uncovered: The £967 Electric Car

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The world’s cheapest electric car has arrived, but the only problem is that it has a max speed of 20mph. However, you do get a colour reversing camera, a radio, air conditioning and an estimated 25-62-mile range.

‘Changli’ is a deceptively small EV which costs just $1,200 US dollars (around £967) from Chinese wholesaler Alibaba. It’s advertised as a “leisure commuter for picking up your children.”

So what more do we know about this record-breaking EV? Read on to find out.

Facts about the Changli

Many drivers’ gripes with electric cars are that they’re simply way too overpriced. For example, you’re probably looking at spending around £20,000 for a brand-new standard model like the Vauxhall Corsa-e. And that’s taking into consideration the government’s £3,000 plug-in grant too.

Of course the top speed and range figures of the Changli aren’t even in the same ballpark as the ones being produced by major manufacturers. But in flat urban where you’re travelling no faster than 30mph it’s perfect.

There is also an unbelievably impressive display of engineering which has gone into the car’s components. So much so that initial impressions are that it should be way more expensive than it is.

1. It shares a steering system with most cars

A rack and pinion steering system is one of the most common types found on standard cars, SUVs and smaller trucks. It’s a fairly simple setup but its success in enabling easy handling in modern vehicles is evident in the fact that it’s been used since the 80s.

The same can be said about the Changli. Although we haven’t driven one yet, there are plenty of videos online showing how it manoeuvres just as accurately as a typical car (of course, without the power steering).

2. Alloy wheels are standard

This is where you really start to see bang for your buck.

There aren’t just bog-standard steel wheels propping up the Changli, but actual alloys. When you consider that many entry-level cars have the cheaper, less aesthetically pleasing steel ones, it’s hard not to be impressed.

Most alloy wheels cost more than a quarter of the Changli’s total price each.

3. Radius arm and shock absorbers included

You wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that a car which nearly 40 times less than a Land Rover Defender would no way share components with one. But think again.

This budget EV has a solid radius arm and coilover suspension which you tend to find on these premium off-roaders. Even a typical golf cart that costs five or six times more than the Changli isn’t this advanced, with bulkier leaf springs used instead which are much less fine-tuned.

4. 100% metal exterior

Every fact about the Changli is remarkable when you consider the cost. None more so than the whole exterior being 100% metal. Not even the fenders are plastic like you’d find on a much pricer buggy or golf cart.

Metal is a much more valuable material in car manufacturing and it’s safer too because they’re stronger and more durable. It’s also a better conductor of heat than plastic, meaning the vehicle is a lot less likely to degrade in higher temperatures.

5. Seven-hour charge time

‘A seven-hour charge time for less than 70 miles?!’ I hear you exclaim. But bear with us on this one.

It may sound like you’re getting a bad deal here, until you realise what batteries are being used. As standard the Changli has five 12V lead acid batteries instead of the single, more powerful lithium-ion battery. This makes a total of 60 volts, compared to the standard minimum capacity of around 96 volts in EVs such as the Renault Zoe.

What this means however is that you’re able to charge it using a standard wall plug in your home. This would be unheard of in a regular electric car because it has too much power and would inevitably overload the socket.

6. Two-tone faux leather seats

Inside the Changli there’s a single driver’s seat up top and a rear bench which is probably big enough for two average sized adults. It doesn’t scream spaciousness, but boy are you given plenty of comfort for your money.

Both the driver’s seat and the bench in the back have two-tone faux leather. There’s even contrasting stitching on there which you’d only tend to find on mid-range trims of popular modern vehicles.

Does the Changli sound like your kind of electric car? Simple yet affordable? Then you can order it from Alibaba and use a car import and registration service to have it made road legal here in the UK.

Want something with a bit more pep, quicker charge time and longer range? Compare prices now on our best electric car lease deals to find your perfect EV.

Otherwise, stay up to date with the latest car news, entertainment and features by visiting the Moneyshake blog.