Classic-car enthusiasts know the Isetta microcar helped BMW make it through some hard times in the ‘50s and ‘60s, thanks to a 160,000 units being sold between 1955 and 1962. Now, the Isetta is back, sort of.
Swiss company Micro Mobility Systems is updating the Isetta with its electric Microlino, picking up on a plan to bring the Isetta back as an EV that BMW abandoned. Micro Mobility claims that the production of a BMW i8 consumes too much in the way of resources, and building EVs isn’t just about going gas-free, but also about using less resources and space, while also being more affordable.
Micro Mobility employee Wim Ouboter started on the design in the early part of last year, and with help from University of Zurich students and design firm Designwerk, the resulting product is a car that looks just like the Isetta of yore, with the exception of more rounded styling and an increase in size.
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Instead of a tiny, fuel-sipping gas motor, the Microlino has a 15-kilowatt electric motor. Top speed is 62 mph, range is from 60 to 75 miles, and curb weight is just shy of 900 pounds. The battery is an 11-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion unit, but it’s unclear if that’s the battery that will make production.
The Microlino is classified as a quadricycle, so it will avoid being subjected to the same crash standards as other cars.
Despite its small size, the Microlino isn’t exactly in a class by itself – the Renault Twizy, for example, has an electric powertrain and comes in a similarly-sized package, and if the Toyota i-Road makes production, there will be an even smaller EV out there to compete with the Microlino.
Micro Mobility is targeting a production date of 2018, with a price tag that will be between $9,000 and $13,500.