Dumpster diving into the abyss of the world’s largest online shopping site has regularly seen me bob to the surface with some uniquely interesting and sometimes terrifying finds. China has become the undisputed leader in producing electric vehicles, especially the seemingly outlandish ones. But as much fun as a bright pink life-size Barbie electric pickup truck can be, it’s the truly useful EVs that catch my fancy the most. And this week’s entry in the Awesomely Weird Alibaba Electric Vehicle of the Week series has me wanting to give it all up to start my own ice-cream man business on an ice-cream cargo e-bike!
And this isn’t just any ice-cream cargo e-bike, no siree Bob! It’s a solar-powered ice-cream cargo e-bike!
This is exactly what I need to scratch that entrepreneurial itch that’s been tickling me ever since my ill-fated highway on-ramp lemonade stand debacle.
It’s got that perfect mix of old-school charm and new-fangled EV technology, all wrapped up in a much better solution than a stuffy ice-cream truck: an ice-cream bike!
I can’t help but think 50 Cent’s classic club song could have been a bit better had he seen one of these first.
♫ I’ll take you to the ice cream shop. Except this time it’s an e-bike with a solar top. Go ‘head girl, you can ride non-stop. Keep goin’ until you’ve sold the lot. ♫
Hey, you don’t have to ask me twice! I’m ready to start my new ice-cream man career, hopping aboard an electric tricycle built by the lowest bidder and giving up the life of glamour and prestige that comes with being an e-bike journalist (remind me to tell you about the time I took an emergency nap on the cold, hard floor of the Tokyo Motorcycle Show).
This old bucket is 78 kilos (172 lb.) of pure, good ol’ entrepreneurial spirit!
It’s not a particularly fast or powerful e-bike, rocking a 250 W (1/3 hp) electric motor and teetering to a top speed of 25 km/h (15.5 mph). But it should surely get the job done. And when the job is slingin’ ice cream, an eye-watering top speed isn’t exactly critical.
The cool thing (get it?!) is that since the ice-cream e-bike is so low-powered, the 170-watt solar panel on top is likely going to be enough to keep it fairly well charged. You’re not going to get infinite range, but the amount of time spent parked is likely to maintain the batteries at nearly full charge.
You could probably ride to your local beach, park for several hours while you make a measurable impact on the local diabetes level, then ride home with a fully charged battery.
A lot of food carts and ice-cream trucks use a gasoline or diesel generator to run the cooler box and other equipment. I assume it’s for the added exhaust flavor. But this ice-cream e-bike keeps things green with an onboard battery 12V 100Ah battery bank for the cooler.
Another nice feature is just how customizable the little ice-cream e-bike is. Not only can you of course choose the colors of the bike, but you get six different cooler sizes to choose from. They range from 108 liters to a massive 508 liters.
I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a 500-liter cooler before, but you could sleep in that gigantic thing. That would be a terrible, ridiculously dangerous thing to do, so please don’t try that. But I’m just saying, you could if you wanted.
The thing is even super compact for shipping too! It shows up in a little cardboard box. There are probably 30 man-hours of assembly required, not to mention finding some replacement hardware for the inevitably missing pieces.
But at least you don’t need to rent a flat bed truck to get it home from your local port like my last big Alibaba purchase.
And there’s so little investment required here, too!
For a cool 850 smackaroos you can start your own small business slinging cold sugary cream. Talk about a low barrier to entry! With $1,000 burning a hole in your pocket, you could have your ice-cream cargo e-bike and a load of sugary nonsense ready to go! Well, plus probably several thousand bucks more for shipping, customs, port fees, transfer fees, docking fees, handling fees, paperwork fees, de-icing fees, etc. Oh and you want the bike with wheels, right? That’s another fee.
So there may be a few unexpected charges to go around here, which is something that several of my readers have found when they made the terrible decision to actually buy some of the weird Alibaba EVs I’ve found.
As much fun as it would be to become a Times Square ice-cream tycoon on my own vending e-bike, I think I may have to sit this one out.
But I can at least stay up at night restlessly thinking about what could have been if I had simply followed my dreams…
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