Every country has made weird cars, but the Chinese make weirder ones than anybody — and many of them plug in. I was stopped short at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas by a truly weird Chinese electric. The good news was that it weighed only 400 pounds; the bad news is that it didn’t do anything with the savings: The thing had a maximum speed of 10 mph.

Whatzit car from China

As shown at CES, a whatzit from China with 10 mph top speed. (Photo: Jim Motavalli)

I didn’t even get a brand name on that one. Other weird Chinese cars were encountered at the Electric Vehicle Show in Spain, including a fairly cute battery ZD (Italian styling!) that made riding mowers look comfortable. I said at the time:

The ZD can be summed up in a single word: challenged. Everything about it looks and feels cheap, down to the lawn-furniture seating and bare-bones radio-only “entertainment center.” Controls were minimal and amenities few.
Far worse than the ZD was the GC, which like that CES car above, appeared to have been built after a raid on Home Depot. I’ve seen the stamped aluminum floor in some of our better warehouses, and the exposed door hinges have an alternative life on garden sheds.

This GC appeared to be made from the Home Depot bargain bin.

This GC appeared to be made from the Home Depot bargain bin. (Photo: Jim Motavalli)

At the most recent Detroit Auto Show, I encountered the truly strange GAC WitStar (at top), which was some kind of Bizarro World plug-in hybrid SUV/minivan with gullwing doors (that failed to work properly) and seats with neon inserts. The piece de resistance was a fish tank between the seats. Don’t worry, though, no animals were harmed — the aquatic life was plastic.

No fish were harmed in the making of this vehicle

Don't worry, no actual fish were harmed. (Photo: Jim Motavalli)

From Lishidedidong comes the so-called Urban Supercar, which despite go-fast looks and a spunky name packs only 10 horsepower from its 72-volt battery and 42-volt electric motor. The good part is that is has 93 miles of range; the bad part is a 50 mph top speed — and that sounds optimistic.

The Urban Supercar sports all of 10 horsepower.

The Urban Supercar sports all of 10 horsepower. (Photo: Snapshot from video)

Chinese cars (and other products, too) are famous for ripping off western brands, and the Landwind X7, spotted at the 2014 Guangzhou Auto Show by MSN Autos, is a total copy of the Range Rover Evoque.

Landwind X7 or Range Rover Evoque?

And how about this “Rolls Royce” below?

China's Rolls Royce wannabe

Bright colors go over well in China. Did this baby start life as a Chrysler, or is that an optical illusion?

China's fake Chrysler

Finally, who can resist the Tang Hua Detroit Fish, which is reportedly amphibious? It was seen at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show, and then never again. Apparently the manufacturer’s suggestion that George Bush buy one for his Texas ranch has gone unheeded.

Tang Hua Detroit Fish

The Tang Hua Detroit Fish is amphibious, and ready for George W. Bush's ranch. (Photo: Joe Ross/Flickr)

Here's a closer look at Chinese copy-cat cars. The "Hummer" is especially good. The Chinese have never met a copyright law they liked:

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Jim Motavalli ( @jmotavalli ) writes about cars, technology and the environmental world to anyone curious enough to ask.

China loves to make really weird cars
Cars with 10 horsepower, fish tanks and Home Depot hardware are just part of the fun. Some even plug in.