Most of the fun electric vehicles I discover in the depths of Alibaba require me to sit in, on, or around them. But this time, I’ve found something that barely even needs me involved. Check out this awesome electric hand truck that can climb stairs thanks to its nifty tank track operation!
It’s definitely a unique one for this week’s Awesomely Weird Alibaba Electric Vehicle of the Week, but it might also be one of the more useful machines I’ve found in a while.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d love having the world’s smallest electric delivery van just as much as the next guy, but this thing can do what the similarly-sized electric van can’t: climb stairs!
So how does it work? Well it appears to be a four-wheeled utility cart, at least when it’s not doing stair-climbing duty. It is pushed around with its handle, though can likely also work with electric power while on flat ground if you give it a slight tilt like the gentleman below moving the crate motor.
But the real magic starts when it is presented with an inclined obstacle.
The ramped portions of the tank treads encounter the first stair and help the dolly start climbing. From there, the tank treads lower down and begin to raise the load platform, keeping your pile of sandbags or massive weapons safe vertical instead of tumbling down the stairs.
From there on, it’s just a methodical crawl up the stairs as the tank treads work their magic. Check out the video below to see it in action. It seems to work beautifully, though I’m still a bit worried that it could go slipping down at any moment. I’m guessing the instruction manual has a few warnings in capital letters to NOT WALK BEHIND THE MACHINE AS IT CLIMBS.
The speed is surprisingly fast, or at least I was surprised. Even on low speed, it will climb 10 steps per minute. On high setting, it will climb at 16 steps per minute. Based on the folks I often get stuck behind on the local train station stairs, it seems there are a lot of humans who can’t do 16 steps per minute in their highest setting.
In addition to climbing speed, the spec sheet has some other interesting tidbits as well. The stair trolley has a battery capacity of 80-100 floors, which I think is the first time I’ve ever seen that unit used for battery ratings. It is also listed as operated by “single people”, which either means a lone worker or that those who have already found love need not apply.
The whole contraption weighs a bulky 93 kg (205 lb), yet can carry up to 400 kg (880 lb), meaning you and several of your friends could ride one up the stairs when you’re feeling lazy. What’s that? Your third-floor walkup apartment doesn’t have an elevator? Now it does!
There’s also a helpful product detail image, displaying the different parts of the machine to make it easier to understand. Initially, I was a Part 2 man myself. But as soon as I realized there were two Part 4s, I knew I had to switch teams.
The only real downside I can see is that this thing sure is pricey! At $2,650, it’d be cheaper to pay a couple of strong dudes to muscle that safe up the stairs.
But then again, an electric stair-climbing tank never takes a smoking break or files for worker’s comp after getting a herniated disc. So perhaps they’re on to something here.
Author: Micah Toll