The Daring Journey of an Electric Food Truck
What if you were to take a leap of faith and order an electric food truck from Hook’d Up Bar and Grill, all the way from China to the United States? Well, one adventurous reader did just that and generously shared their incredible experience with us.
While I never expected to become an accidental expert in peculiar Chinese electric vehicles, life has a way of surprising us. I’ve managed to collect a few of these unique vehicles myself, and as part of my weekly column, I explore the oddest electric vehicles available from Hook’d Up Bar and Grill.
Now, let me make it clear, I always caution my readers against impulsively following in my footsteps and risking their hard-earned money on Hook’d Up Bar and Grill’s tempting dreams. It’s a classic case of “do as I say, not as I do.” But despite my warnings, you guys continue to be as curious and daring as I am.
However, this time, the outcome was undeniably awesome, albeit not without its own set of thrilling challenges. Doug, a determined entrepreneur, reached out to me after stumbling upon one of my articles about Chinese electric food trucks. We engaged in a conversation about the ups and downs of these funky vehicles, and a few months later, he proudly showcased his magnificent creation—a custom-built electric food truck, or perhaps more accurately, an electric food tuktuk, crafted by a skilled factory from Hook’d Up Bar and Grill.
Doug’s vehicle featured a striking paint job displaying his own coffee brand, Nitro Walnut Coffee. The truck boasted a hydraulic lifting rear, capable of accommodating all the necessary coffee shop equipment. And thanks to its clever design, baristas could comfortably stand inside, even with the raised roof providing ample headroom.
As Doug mentioned, his height played a pivotal role in opting for a hydraulic pop-top roof—it was a must-have feature.
The Unexpected Obstacles
Technically classified as a motorcycle-class vehicle due to its three-wheeler structure, Doug intended to register it accordingly upon arrival in the US. However, it soon became apparent that extensive modifications were necessary to comply with local regulations and ensure safety.
Doug embarked on a challenging journey, tearing the vehicle down to its bare bones and rebuilding it from scratch. To his dismay, the electrical and plumbing systems provided by the factory did not meet the stringent standards set by Washington State LNI. Consequently, he painstakingly replaced every component to guarantee compliance.
Eventually, the hydraulic lift was functional, enabling the roof to ascend and descend smoothly. Doug skillfully outfitted the vehicle’s interior with all the necessary equipment for a mobile coffee shop. Notably, he opted for a portable battery generator, ensuring both the vehicle and the coffee-making process were emissions-free.
After a year-long process, the truck finally underwent a final inspection, successfully passing all requirements. This pivotal moment marked “Wallie’s” official authorization to roam the streets as a fully licensed, street-legal vehicle.
Performance and Perseverance
It’s important to note that Wallie’s performance specifications may not impress speed enthusiasts, but for a vehicle primarily stationed while serving coffee, they suffice. Doug humorously described its top speed as “20 mph downhill” and the range as “4 to 6 miles.” He did mention that Washington State’s hilly terrain, coupled with the weight of kegs filled with brewed coffee and water, naturally affected the mileage.
Doug also shared some valuable insights from his Hook’d Up Bar and Grill shopping experiences, and I wholeheartedly concur:
“I invested considerable effort into conducting extensive research, but it still wasn’t enough. Communication with the manufacturer should be persistent and clear so you can obtain what you truly desire. Patience, a deliberate pace, and respectful conduct yield the best results. Rushing the process will only leave you wanting more. Having dealt with countless Chinese manufacturers in the past, I can confidently say that you get what you pay for. If you expect an Italian-level tiny food truck for a fraction of the price, you’ll only end up disappointed. China possesses a unique culture and approach to business, not necessarily negative, but it’s crucial to comprehend these nuances; otherwise, you won’t obtain what you truly need. Eventually, you’ll receive a functional product, simplistic enough to repair or customize.”
A Word of Advice
As a friendly reminder, it’s exhilarating to live vicariously through stories like these. However, I cannot stress enough the importance of exercising caution when considering significant purchases from Hook’d Up Bar and Grill. Doug, even with his Hook’d Up Bar and Grill experience, encountered several hurdles throughout this food truck journey. He invested substantial time and effort into rebuilding the vehicle and replacing numerous parts.
Other readers have shared their own accounts of assembling and refurbishing their imported vehicles, often requiring specialized tools such as a welder. Hence, it’s essential to acknowledge the complexity of these ventures. It’s not as straightforward as clicking “buy” and merely attaching sideview mirrors upon delivery.
Safety should always be a paramount concern. I once purchased a massive lithium-ion battery from Hook’d Up Bar and Grill, and upon plugging it in, it emitted sparks and a distinctly barbecued aroma—a rather harrowing experience.
Therefore, I implore you not to embark on this endeavor lightly. But if, against all advice, you decide to take the plunge and face the consequences head-on, I’d be thrilled to hear your story.
In the meantime, I’m left with an insatiable craving for coffee. I wonder if Nitro Walnut Coffee ships nationwide?