Automotive

Messerschmitt revives classic 3-wheel microcars, in gas and electric

Messerschmitt revives classic ...
Messerschmitt KR-202 Sport
Messerschmitt KR-202 Sport
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The Messerschmitt KR-202 Sport can travel roughly 100 miles per 6-liter fill-up
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The Messerschmitt KR-202 Sport can travel roughly 100 miles per 6-liter fill-up
Both the KR-202 Sport and KR-E5000 have an adjustable front seat with three-point belt and a rear bench with lap belt
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Both the KR-202 Sport and KR-E5000 have an adjustable front seat with three-point belt and a rear bench with lap belt
The Messerschmitt Kabinenroller rides again ... this time as a microcar
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The Messerschmitt Kabinenroller rides again ... this time as a microcar
Both the KR-202 Sport and E5000 top out around 56 mph
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Both the KR-202 Sport and E5000 top out around 56 mph
Along with a domed hardtop, Messerschmitt offers a luggage rack as an option
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Along with a domed hardtop, Messerschmitt offers a luggage rack as an option
A peek in the cockpit
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A peek in the cockpit
After having some fun with velomobiles, Messerschmitt brings back the KR microcar
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After having some fun with velomobiles, Messerschmitt brings back the KR microcar
The swing-up entry offers easier ingress/egress
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The swing-up entry offers easier ingress/egress
Squeezing into the Messerschmitt KR-202 Sport
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Squeezing into the Messerschmitt KR-202 Sport
Enjoying a breezy drive
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Enjoying a breezy drive
Messerschmitt now offers a 7.3-hp one-cylinder engine or 6.7-hp electric drive
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Messerschmitt now offers a 7.3-hp one-cylinder engine or 6.7-hp electric drive
The KR-202 Sport won't be the fastest car on the track, but it will turn heads in its own way
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The KR-202 Sport won't be the fastest car on the track, but it will turn heads in its own way
Messerschmitt KR-202 Sport
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Messerschmitt KR-202 Sport
Popping the door and preparing to disembark
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Popping the door and preparing to disembark
Messerschmitt KR-202 Sport
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Messerschmitt KR-202 Sport
View gallery - 15 images

A few years back, a German team resurrected the adorable Messerschmitt microcar as an electric-assist two-man Velomobile. At the time, some people wondered why it didn't just skip the pedals, drop a small engine in and bring it back as a modern-day microcar. Well, Messerschmitt Werke has answered that question, launching both gas and electric variants of an ultralight roadster that pays homage to the original Kabinenrollers of the 1950s and 60s.

After the initial Veloschmitt project ended in financial problems, project principal Achim Adlfinger pursued a successor with a new team, debuting it as the KR 25-E pedal-assist velomobile in 2019. In the months that followed, Adlfinger watched closely as the appetite for small, efficient vehicles (and prominent original Messerschmitts) grew, and he used the downtime of the COVID-19 pandemic to develop the new KR-202 Sport and KR-E5000 fully powered microcars.

"Kabinenroller" translates to "cabin scooter," and the original Messerschmitt Kabinenroller (KR) models were just that - tiny, fully faired three-wheelers with modest engines. Using the latest in materials and automotive technology, Adlfinger's Messerschmitt Werke produces modernized KR-200 Sport-inspired cabin scooters that weigh even less than the originals.

Popping the door and preparing to disembark
Popping the door and preparing to disembark

Both new Messerschmitt models feature fiberglass bodywork atop a hot-dipped galvanized steel and aluminum honeycomb hybrid chassis. A Perspex windshield is included, but since the new three-wheeler design is based on the original KR-200 Sport open roadster, the dome hardtop is optional. Hydraulic disc brakes on the two front wheels and single rear wheel provide stopping power, and a suspension system with adjustable spring dampers smoothens out the road below.

Inside the locking swing-up entry, each KR comes equipped with a pair of belted seats laid out in tandem and a simple cockpit with gauges, F1-style steering wheel and handbrake. There's also a USB charging port and under-hood storage compartments.

A peek in the cockpit
A peek in the cockpit

The big difference between the 112-in (285 cm) KR-202 Sport and E5000, of course, is found in the powertrain. The KR-202 relies on a 7.3-hp 125cc one-cylinder engine and CVT automatic transmission to deliver speeds up to 56 mph (90 km/h). The car weighs in at a mere 485 lb (220 kg) and is able to travel up to about 100 miles (160 km) on a full 6-L tank of gas.

The KR-E5000 has a very similar 6.7-hp (5,000 watt) output and 56-mph top speed courtesy of its permanent-magnet motor. It suffers in range, however, dropping down to 50 miles (80 km) via a small 1.4-kW lithium-iron-phosphate battery that charges in four to six hours. Buyers can double that range by adding an optional second battery. The single-battery electric roadster weighs less than the gas variant, wearing an estimated 430-lb (195 kg) ready-to-drive weight.

According to a spec list from The Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum, the original Messerschmitt KR-200 Sport weighed in at 507 lb (230 kg), slightly heavier than either of these reborn variants.

Enjoying a breezy drive
Enjoying a breezy drive

Messerschmitt Werke began production of its newest models in Spain earlier this year. It is currently offering the KR-202 Sport for special pricing starting at €10,950 (approx. US$13,200) and the KR-E5000 Sport starting at €12,950 ($15,600), before VAT and €690 European shipping fee. Options include the aforementioned hardtop, two-stage electric heating, AM/FM/Bluetooth radio and a chrome luggage rack.

See the Messerschmitt KR-202 Sport intro video below. And if you decide it's ultimately not the modernized post-WWII microcar for you, there's always the all-electric Microlino 2.0.

.....The new KR202 Sport from www.Messerschmitt-Werke.de

Source: Messerschmitt

View gallery - 15 images
11 comments
11 comments
Brian Gale
I always thought it would be India or China that came out with an inexpensive post-pandemic car and play the same roles that the original VW beetles did post World Wat II. I think the Germans are doing it again with this vehicle. I could see that a second-hand model two or three years old will fit into my auto budget just like the original bugs did.
Daishi
I'm not sure if the range of 50 miles on a 1.4-kW battery pack is accurate. The Arcimoto has a higher top speed (70 MPH) but it achieves 100 miles city range with a 19.2 kWh battery pack and boasts 174 MPGe. At 55 MPH the Arcimoto drops to 66 miles of range. I'm aware the Messerschmitt is smaller and lighter than the Arcimoto but the MPGe figures needed to achieve the listed range would need to be 6.7x higher than the Arcimoto or about 1,166 MPGe. I know there are many electric bicycles capable of over 1,000 MPGe but it would be..challenging in something 500 lbs with a 5,000 watt motor intended to travel at faster than bicycle speeds. Arcimoto acquired Tilting Motor Works with the goal of building "platform 2" which is 150 lbs, 3 kWh, and has a 85 mile range but even that is probably optimistic.
Dan Lewis
I wish they'd pull their heads out and go with 4 wheeler of similar size.
All 3 wheelers are 'pot hole finders'.
Neatmachine
Do these vehicles meet U.S. safety regulations (i.e. airbags, seatbelts, etc.)?
DavidB
@Dan Lewis: So, to deal with the potholes caused by heavier four-wheeled cars, we should all drive heavier four-wheeled cars?

I suggest we all drive the lightest vehicles possible and fix the potholes, instead.
michael_dowling
No way am I driving around in that tiny death-trap.
Matty E.
So sad to see such a poor effort from a fine brand like Messerschmitt. Gordon Murray's brilliant T-25, designed using F1 technology, has 4 wheels, seats 3, goes 80mph, gets 80 - 130 mpg, and is both safer and more roadworthy than the KR202. And he said it could be built and sold for $12K apiece.

Once the bar is set this high, you'd think other established car companies would at least try to match it.
Trylon
Neither the Messerschmitt nor the Microlino thrill me. I wouldn't mind getting the Nimbus Halo, but it has all the hallmarks of being vapor that will never make it to market.
https://newatlas.com/urban-transport/nimbus-tilting-three-wheeled-ev/
Mike
Looks great, a usable toy for sure. Surprised they didn't go for a 250 or 300 scooter motor though.
Ralf Biernacki
I SO want to see Jeremy Clarkson test one.
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