Published On: Mon, Aug 22nd, 2016

Reality of The 50,000 Mini Car in Pakistan


Reality of The 50,000 Mini Car in Pakistan (1)

News regarding a Rs 50,000 maintenance-free Mini electric car have been making the rounds on social media as well as on some online news sites. Amongst all the rumors and misunderstandings the real facts about Mini Car seem to have been lost.

Today, we take a look at what are those facts and what are solely based on rumors.

Details About the Car
Images being shared on social media suggest that a car which does not require any petrol or CNG and requires no maintenance is now available in Pakistan and costs as much as a motorbike. If you have a bit of understanding of such vehicles or have seen them at some local parks etc. these cars are electric vehicles.

These small electric cars also called Mini Smart Cars are manufactured in China and are being imported by a company calling itself NK Smart Cars. The name of the company is based on the name given to the vehicle by the Pakistani importer i.e. NK Smart Car.
The sole agent (importer), Khurram Aftab, says he wanted to bring these cars to Pakistan because these are hassle-free, are easy on the environment and are more manageable in a lot of traffic. These Mini Cars not need oil change, filter replacement or any similar maintenance work required by fossil-fuel cars.

Car Specifications
Mini Smart Cars are built on a steel frame and aluminium base with a Plastic polymer body, and a high-impact fibreglass roof. This makes the cars extremely light. These mini cars can only accommodate a maximum of 2 people.

There’s a small baggage compartment at the back of mini car. As far as the looks are concerned, these mini cars are similar to the vehicles seen at golf courses, airport and parks.
The interior looks like a normal car, albeit half the size of normal one (since there’s only one seat at the front.

Instead of an AC, you get a small fan, similar to the ones often seen in public transport. You can’t roll down the glass windows since the mechanism for doing that is missing. Instead, you get a small sliding glass attached to the large one.

NK Smart Cars are fitted with multiple small lead-acid batteries and work using a 60V 1.1 KW motor. The original manufacturer also offers a 2.2 KW motor as well, but we are not aware whether the ones available in Pakistan have the upgrade. The battery powered cars take between 4 to 7 hours to charge completely. With a single charge, you can travel up to 150km. Batteries are estimated to last about 500 charges, after that you will need to replace them.

The tyres are smaller than a motorbike and offer sufficient grip. The car comes with front and rear suspension as well.
To drive the car, you don’t need to change any gears. The car only comes with an accelerator and a brake. When driving, the max speed tops out at 28km/h with a 1.1KW motor and 40km/h with a 2.2KW motor. One more thing to keep in mind is that daily usage will also add Rs. 11k to Rs. 18k to your electricity bill.

The rumors suggest the Mini Car costs only Rs 50,000. That’s completely wrong.

The importing company has the car priced at Rs. 600,000. They initially launched an offer which allowed the first 100 buyers to book the vehicles for just Rs. 50K and pay the rest when the car arrives.

Somebody either misunderstood the initial offer and shared it, or it was possibly made public as a marketing tactic.
Whatever, the case, people have been vocal against the price on the importer’s Facebook page. They argue that its very high for a 2-seater car with limited range and speed. The importer argues that these cars bring multiple advantages and ease of mind which makes it superior to small cars in the market.

However, the public may be right. A brief search on the internet provides details regarding the different Chinese manufacturers of the car selling it for about $2,500 per car and as low as $2,000 when purchased in bulk.

Even with a 50% customs tax added, these cars cost about Rs. 375,000 for a single purchase and Rs. 300,000 when purchased in bulk. Of course, the prices could be different depending on the features demanded by the customer, but not as high as Rs. 600,000.

Final Thoughts
While the importer may argue that these cars are superior to local small cars which cost much more, the local fossil-fuel powered cars can carry more passengers and are more versatile. You can also get Japanese imported Kei cars for Rs. 600,000 – 800,000.

There might be room for such vehicles in the market but certainly not at the current prices. In comparison, we have heard of Zar motors offering similar looking electric vehicles, with similar features and parts availability. Those electric vehicles have also been approved by the KPK authorities for on-road use.

Reality of The 50,000 Mini Car in Pakistan (3)

Courtesy: Pro Pakistani

About the Author

Syed Ammar Alavi

- is Lahore (Pakistan) based journalist & writer with 25-year experience in print, wire and broadcast forms of journalism. His major fields of interest are politics, film,tv,sports, climate change and technology