This "Questionable Surprise" Costs $2,500 and Wants To Be a Mini Cooper but Never Will

Minicar 13 photos
Photo: Shandong Alma Technology Co
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It's nothing new that China has a knack for copying just about everything under the shining sun. Oh, and when they do this, the machines they spit out end up being on a whole new level of cheap. Take, for instance, today's topic of discussion, the "minicar long-distance path adult electric car." Let's see what this electric Mini knockoff has to offer.
When I first saw just how much Shandong Alma Technology Co. is asking for the Minicar or the Alma M-200, I just couldn't help but bring this puppy to light. $2,500 (€2,300 at current exchange rates) is all we're being asked to pay for this electrified and rather quirky four-seater from China, and is it just me, or does this have Mini Cooper written all over it?

Trust me, just visually, and even then, there's no way something like this could ever compete with BMW-Mini. Right? RIGHT? According to this company's profile page on Made in China, they state that BMW is one of their partners, and so are Buick, Audi, Infiniti, Toyota, and even Ford. That said, let's dive deeper.

Now, if you ever check out this vehicle's product presentation page, there are just so many statements that do nothing more than raise more questions as to what we're actually looking at and what to expect. For example, we're told that the Minicar is a four-seater vehicle, and that's normal so far, but what I found rather odd is the statement that there's a 1,500 W motor in this thing.

Photo: Shandong Alma Technology Co
I'm sorry, but I've ridden e-bikes with peak 1,300 W motors, and moving two people along wasn't the easiest of tasks, even with just two wheels. Still, the phrase "large power" should put things to rest. I'm being ironic in case you didn't feel the tone of this article yet. The only indication we have of this puppy's power comes from a piece of information stating that "displacement is less than or equal to 1,000 CCs." The Minicar even needs and uses a climbing.

Honestly, I'm hoping that whoever was in charge of putting together this product page simply forgot to use the words "per wheel" after "1,500 W motor" or something like that. Otherwise, I see no way how this little trinket could take off from a standstill with four people inside. Mind you, the words "strong drive" are also visible in the brochure; that's about as Chinese as you can get.

Then there's the problem of battery capacity. Nowhere does it say just how much juice is in this thing; only the words "long endurance," whatever that may mean. Oh, "The use of high-quality batteries, large capacity travel more worry" also shows up, and I swear I wrote that just how the manufacturer wrote it, typos and all.

Photo: Shandong Alma Technology Co
Yet, we are told that the battery's maximum recharge time is up to three hours. Other than that, each wheel is equipped with disc brakes; it has a reverse camera, multimedia center, electric heating, and even "voice interconnection." Wondering what the interior may look like? There is just one image of the dashboard, and that's all we get.

As for the exterior of this gimmick with wheels, I have to return to the whole Cooper look and what's in store. From the side, the Minicar resembles the older and more classic Cooper models, with a short, high, and chopped nose. A "chrome" grill smiles in the sunlight.

Actually, we can bet our bottom dollar that the grill is not chrome, and if I'm not mistaken, it looks like the bumper is built right into the bodywork itself, the same as those fenders and side skirts. At the rear, the entire paneling looks like it's built from one piece, with some slots for windows here and there. Could this be a fiberglass or composite body?

Photo: Shandong Alma Technology Co
While it's an EV, you'd expect there to be some storage space under the hood. Instead, the manufacturer of this abomination shows off a rear trunk space accessible by a drop-down hatch. By the looks of things, just a few groceries will fit, but I'm not sure you want to risk it with a 1,500 W motor. I'm sorry; there has to be something I'm missing.

That said, where does this bugger belong in our hierarchy of vehicles, and why should we ever consider spending the $2,500 on something like this? Well, by the looks of things, I'd never be able to consider this a car, but rather an electric quadricycle, possibly suitable for future drivers and only in an urban setting; god knows, those panels might start flying off at highway speeds.

Another solution for this thing is to pick one up as nothing more than a project, either to tinker with, to make a YouTube video of the sort of stuff China's deep dark corners have to offer or to trick out with way more power than the bodywork can handle; make it shake, baby! Just a little something-something if you're bored and have some cash to spend on questionable surprise vehicles.
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Editor's note: Images in the gallery also showcase the real Mini and Mini Coopers of today and yesterday.

About the author: Cristian Curmei
Cristian Curmei profile photo

A bit of a nomad at heart (being born in Europe and raised in several places in the USA), Cristian is enamored with travel trailers, campers and bikes. He also tests and writes about urban means of transportation like scooters, mopeds and e-bikes (when he's not busy hosting our video stories and guides).
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