Ever thought of a brand new smart car that costs only PKR 50,000 today and consumes no petrol and CNG? Of course, there are expensive hybrid and electric vehicles, but those cannot be called an item for masses in Pakistan.
This smart mini car we are talking about is a real vehicle that works on battery and doesn’t require fuel. Since there is no engine, therefore, there is no need for changing oil, filter or any other component that traditional car owners usually do on a regular basis.
These small electric cars also 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.
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, about 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.
No matter how poorly manufactured Suzuki Mehran is but at the end of the day, it is a car that is accepted by a vast majority in Pakistan. Unconvinced for buying something that costs nearly 15% less than the tiny Mehran and giving no feel of a decent car compelled us to look for the actual price on the internet.