CHEAP LOW SPEED ELECTRIC VEHICLES IN GEORGIA
First, let’s make it clear – EVs themselves are NOT a scam. scams are created by those who want to take advantage of others and create a scam on anything. Electric cars are only one of their million targets.
Whilst I know that many of you realise that the cheap cars for sale in the advertising which continues to appear on Facebook are a scam, I want to give some further helpful information.
The Georgian Revenue Service and customs subuki (light car) experts from the Levan Samkharauli Forensic Laboratories in Tbilisi as well as Ministry of Internal Affairs Georgia (police) do not allow these cars on arterial roads. The cheap car adverts on Facebook are a scam.
These cars are supposed to be selling anywhere between 69 USD and 169 USD. This is of course a scam and an absolute impossibility. The advertisers realise that should anyone send a payment of such a low amount to purchase one of these cars, they are highly unlikely to follow through with court proceedings when no car transpires.
What are these cheap car scams?
These are electric cars. The cars themselves are not a scam. The origin is China. The manufacturers of these cars sell them from the factory gates for various prices around 1200 USD to 4000 USD on average. The shipping via such companies as CMA-CGM in a container is 1200 USD to Georgia. The clearance charge on arrival is 300 USD.
Already, the cost of the cheapest of these cars is up to 2700 USD delivered to Poti.
The batteries for these cars alone cost around 100 USD per unit. The usual configuration is 4 to 6 batteries. How could anyone sell a car for less than the cost of one battery?
This is only one problem. Most of these little cars have an electric motor of 1 to 3 kW or even less.
Georgian Traffic Law number 150 states that NO vehicle can be classed as a car and given registration plates unless the motor is GREATER THAN 4kW. Electric cars are tax-free imports. If a vehicle does not meet traffic law 150 it is not a car so cannot be exempted from import duty of 18%. Add at least another 300 USD.
As such a vehicle is not a car, It is a city car. it would not be given plates and therefore cannot be driven on Georgian arterial roads.
- Is Vehicle Conversion a possibility?
Now if anyone thinks that they can import such a car and change the motor to comply with Georgian law, they have a problem here too. Any import will only be accepted as it is imported. What this means is that if the car has a 2-3 kW motor as imported, you are stuck. A motor can only be changed on a registered car. As the vehicle was recorded on import, the motor size is already documented. To change the motor for a different size, you must first be able to register the car. As you can’t register it initially, you can’t change it.
Even at the full normal import cost, It would only make a nice garden ornament.
This of course does not apply to more expensive types such as the little Renault and Toyota etc. unless their motors are also 4kW or below when they would fall under the same rules. The exception to this is a vehicle with a very small motor falling outside the 4kw+ category could be accepted as a quadricycle but that would require the vehicle to be in an entirely different format from that of a car.
- LSEV personal experience
Having researched these matters, there is however something useful which can be done with such a car. A strange quirk of Georgian law is that if a vehicle does not fit into the accepted formats as laid down in the law, then it simply isn’t a car but a personal possession. Whilst this could be expected, it’s the next part which is not expected.
I decided to take advantage of these quirks in Georgian law and dig deeper. After all, it’s a common sight to see three-wheeled vehicles consisting of a trailer with a motorcycle front-end, running around villages and towns without any form of registration. Why should mine be any different? As it turned out, after a discussion with the police, this was indeed the case. As the vehicle is not a car of any kind and whilst it cannot be registered and given a registration number, it can be driven without registration, on city, town, and village roads so long as those roads are within a municipality and not on inter-city highways.
Not being a recognised motor car, it does not require the use of seat belts. Neither does it need to be tested annually. On top of this, the police told me that although I have held a driver’s license for many years, one was not needed for something not regarded as a motor vehicle. Again, motor insurance is not required. The strange thing is that it is allowed to mingle with any other traffic in the city, town, or village. As I couldn’t quite grasp this possibility immediately, I had a short face-to-face meeting face to face with the police chief in my nearest administrative town when he told me that he was perfectly happy with my use of the car in his area and seemed bemused by my query.
It appears that very very little if any Georgian road traffic law applies to such a vehicle and indeed, some companies have begun to use such little cars as delivery vehicles within the cities. Many are to be seen delivering hot food from takeaway establishments and my own little electric vehicle which is to all who see her, an out-and-out car is used virtually every day for shopping, and by using secondary roads, I am quite at liberty to drive between many villages in my local area. The main limitation for me is that as the motor is of small power output (4kW translates to around 5 h.p.), the single-speed gearing propels the car at around 40-50 kph which nevertheless is adequate in urban areas.
I should perhaps point out that my car is of normal four-seat monocoque steel bodied construction, sporting power-assisted disc front brakes and power steering, air conditioning, electric windows, sunroof, mp4 player with reverse camera, front mounted petrol generator to ensure that I am never stuck with dead batteries, central locking, and all modern conveniences to be found on a small family car. All enveloped within the fact that my motor is 4kW rather than the legal minimum for a registered vehicle of “more than”4kW.