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.
I can recall an experimentation of an engineer of Rawalpindi city, a few years ago, who claimed to run his car on water and even gave a live demonstration on a leading TV show. I have no idea if it was for real, or the bigger automobile and oil mafia suppressed this concept which could have shaken the entire auto industry, but the public did not believe in his theory.
However, this smart 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 vehicles are commonly called mini electric cars or urban micro cars but Khurram Aftab, the sole agent of this Chinese manufactured smart car likes to call it NK Smart Car.
This three seaters smart car is maintenance free, and there is no hassle for taking it to workshops now and then.
“My idea for introducing the smart car in Pakistani market was to make the lives of people hassle free who frequently buy fake parts for their vehicles and keep wasting their time and money. This mini car does not need oil, and there is no reason to change oil and air filters because it runs on battery, and no such thing exists inside. The concept is to save time and money.”, Khurram told while explaining the idea.
Khurram is of the opinion that people should convert to environment-friendly solutions. He says that the air pollution in Pakistan is increasing because of plenty of rickshaws, taxis, and heavy buses on roads which are congested as well.
“An average vehicle keeps consuming petrol/diesel even when it is at a signal, whereas, NK Smart Car stops using battery power whenever it is stationary,” he added.
What’s the REAL price of this mini smart car?
NK Smart Car is nothing new as we usually see such electronic vehicles on Airports, Hotels and Golf Courses in various countries. No, this is not a PKR 50,000 car. It could be a marketing gimmick for getting an earlier response or someone just misunderstood the offer. The NK Smart Car is on sale for PKR 0.6 million, Yes, PKR 600,000. Khurram had announced that first 100 buyers could book it for PKR 50,000 and the remaining to be paid later.
The price is certainly very high for a car that is made of fiber and can accommodate only two persons. The Facebook fan page of NK Smart Car also displays dozens of comments from the public who are showing disapproval to the price Khurram is asking for the vehicle.
According to him, his car is better than Suzuki Mehran in the economy.
“If you purchase Suzuki Mehran for a price of PRK 0.7 million, you will have to keep dealing with various as it needs a lot of maintenance which is not the case with the smart car,” Khurram argued.
The major component of the car is the battery which has a life span of 500 charges. After that, you will need to buy a new one for PKR 7000.
Although Khurram tries to convince about the performance, however, there are various unanswered areas;
If this car can bear the wrath of heavy rains and water filled roads during the rain? Most of our metro cities look like a pool whenever there is rainfall.
There is no AC onboard. Rather, there is a small blue color 12 volts fan installed on the dashboard which we usually see inside Suzuki pickups. Does it look nice or serve any purpose during the hot weather of Pakistan which spans over eight months?
The battery of smart car takes 4 to 7 hours for getting charged fully. There are no charging sockets available on public parking places, unlike the developed world where electronic cars are a part of routine life. On longer routes, you might not find a charging socket easily.
There is no workshop or parts available in the market, although Khurram says that he would provide home service if there happens an issue with the car.
For any car that comes on roads has to get prior approval from Engineering Development Board (EDB) which endorses the safety and specs of the vehicle but Khurram believes there is no need to speak to the government as it is a four wheel vehicle. The requirement to obtain a clearance certificate arises for a three-wheel vehicle. “We have paid all the duties and taxes of this car,” he elaborated.
It consumes no Petrol but increases your Electricity Bill
According to him, it consumes 40 units of electricity before it gets fully charged. If you do charge it on a daily basis, it will additionally add 1200 units to your LESCO bill or at least 600 units if you skip a day. The rate of LESCO during peak hours is PKR 15 per unit and an off-peak hour unit costs around PKR 9.5. The following table shows what additional burden the charging of this smart car may add to your monthly bill.