Awesomely Weird Alibaba Electric Vehicle of the Week: Your own electric submarine


Every week I put on my journalistic scuba gear and dive to the bottom of the abandoned strip-mine-turned-reservoir that is the Alibaba electric vehicle catalogue in order to find the most audacious EVs available. Most of the time I’m so enthralled by the craziness of what I find that I have to resist the urge to pull out my credit card. This time I can safely say that I will absolutely not be buying this week’s feature. Because even as cool as it is that you can buy your own electric submarine on Alibaba, I very much value my life above the surface.

But this electric submarine is still awesome enough and weird enough to land it a coveted spot as this week’s Awesomely Weird Alibaba Electric Vehicle of the Week.

You can buy a submarine on Alibaba

Brought to us by the fine (I’m assuming) folks over at Zhejiang Henghai Technology Co., Ltd., this electric submarine is as fascinating as the idea is frightening.

Operated by a crew of two, the acrylic-walled capsule in the middle of the sub boasts nine seats, meaning you can bring eight friends as long as one of them is trained in Chinese electric submarine operation.

I’m not entirely sure what the second crewman does, especially since there appears to be eight passenger seats and one captain’s chair.

I think this person is largely responsible for wiping the captain’s brow, who is likely sweating bullets each time the water line disappears out of view and the inky darkness of the sea consumes this transparent party coffin.

There’s also conspicuously no bathroom on board, which could be a problem based on the eight-hour endurance of this death bubble.

With a 60 kWh li-ion battery and a submerged speed of just 2 km/h, this nightmare mail tube eases along through the water at a sea turtle’s pace.

Available with either two or four 2 kW thrusters, it isn’t exactly a high-powered vessel. I don’t think our teeny weeny submariney here is going to impress any Navy submariners. If they were hunting for us instead of the Red October, the movie would have been over by the title card.

But that doesn’t mean this bad idea on ballasts doesn’t come fully loaded with the works. Because of course if I’m going to buy an electric submarine from Alibaba, I want it to arrive with the full loadout.

We’ve got an “oxygen system,” we’ve got life support, we’ve got joystick controls AND touchscreen controls. We’ve even got an “emergency floating device and throwing system.” Ohhh, that must be what the second crewman is for. He throws the lifesaver ring.

And in case you’re afraid you’d be stuck on the sea floor where no one could hear you scream, let me calm those worries. The submarine comes equipped with both surface and underwater communication devices. So it’s fine, they’ll hear you scream on multiple frequencies.

Underwater no one can hear you scream

With 1,600 kg of ballast water, you can rocket your way down to Poseidon, as long as he doesn’t hang out lower than the sub’s 30-meter max operational depth.

What happens below 30 meters? Well, have you ever stepped on a ketchup packet before?

Assuming something does go wrong and you’re not in an area deeper than 30 meters, you may be able to take advantage of the sub’s generous 72-hour “emergency support time.” That will give you three full days to contemplate your mistakes and why you would ever have bought a submarine from Alibaba before, well…. you know.

But look, this is a free country. If you want to buy your own electric submarine on Alibaba, far be it for me to talk you out of it. I just hope you came with enough cash, because this ain’t your typical $1,000 Alibaba electric boat.

Well, it actually doesn’t look that far off from it. Except that it costs a whopping $860,000! And the fact that all of the images are computer renders doesn’t give me warm, fuzzy feelings about this product actually existing.

If I were you, I’d put that charge on my credit card just in case I need to cancel it. Plus you might even be able to use your card to double the warranty!

But if you’re like me and you’d rather stick to solid land, might I interest you in a few other Awesomely Weird Alibaba Electric Vehicles of the Week to check out? Maybe an electric army jeep is more your style? Or an electric Cinderella carriage? Hey, I don’t judge!

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