Have you ever been in the mood to drive an electric bus, and then thought to yourself, “the only thing that could make this better is if the bus was shaped like a marsupial”? Yea, me neither. At least not until I stumbled upon this precious specimen of a koala bus.
It’s not the first animal-shaped electric bus that has headlined the Awesomely Weird Alibaba Electric Vehicle of the Week column. But it just might be the cutest.
And to be fair, I did think it was a mouse until our graphics guy corrected me. But that’s kind of the beauty of a nondescript animal bus – it can be whatever you want it to be!
In this case, what it is is a 14-seater electric bus, including the driver. There’s even a full seat next to the driver, perfect for that one kid on the bus. You know the one.
Granted, the interior doesn’t look quite as magical as the exterior, but sometimes that’s just life.
And in fact, there are a few head-scratchers spread around the interior. I’m still trying to figure out exactly how the seat belt system works here. Is it a buddy system? Are those crotch straps? is it decorative? If you’ve got both a plastic grab handle AND a chrome face-smashing bar AND velvet ropes instead of walls, do you really need the loop-de-loop belts, anyway?
The world needs answers.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of hard answers for you on the design decisions. What I can tell you though is what is happening regarding the technical side.
Based on the spec sheet, it looks like we’re working with a 5-meter (16-foot) bus carrying a curb weight of a mere 1,250 kg (2,755 lb). Frankly, that’s suspiciously lightweight. I’m kind of wondering what was cut out (besides the walls) to achieve that svelte physique.
It seems the powertrain might be part of the answer. Instead of a burly workhorse of a motor, we’ve got a paltry 5.5 kW spinner powering that rear axle. And the 9.6 kWh battery isn’t exactly huge either, though the lead acid battery design means it’s probably contributing to around a quarter of the entire vehicle’s weight.
But hey, when I said “koala bus”, I don’t think anyone came running over expecting something that was going to lay down respectable times at the local drag strip. You’re all here for a bus with a koala on it, and by god, that’s what you’ll get. I’ll stake my reputation on this right now – there’s no other bus out there that’s got more koala than this one, and that’s a promise you can take to the bank.
Just don’t try and make an international wire transfer while you’re there. Just because this koala bus is priced at around $8,500 doesn’t mean you should try to get one into your driveway. Ignoring the whole host of issues such as street legality and safety, don’t forget that you’d have a super desirable vehicle on your hands and no locking doors. Good luck waking up and still having a koala bus in your driveway. That puppy is going, going, gone as soon as thieves realize what a prize you’ve found. I don’t know the resale value of an electric animal bus on the black market, but it’s got to be up there.
So add this to the list of fun, funny, or just plain weird Alibaba electric vehicles that I’d love to try but I’m not going to risk my paycheck on trying to own.