Automotive

Microlino bubble e-car gets complete redesign ahead of production

Microlino bubble e-car gets co...
The Microlino 2.0 (left) will begin production in 2021, while the Microletta is still a concept for now
The Microlino 2.0 (left) will begin production in 2021, while the Microletta is still a concept for now
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The Micro commuter electric kickscooter features a removable battery mounted to the handlebars
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The Micro commuter electric kickscooter features a removable battery mounted to the handlebars
The Micro explorer is built to last
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The Micro explorer is built to last
The handlebar-integrated LED headlight of the Microletta moto-scooter has a built-in color display facing the rider
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The handlebar-integrated LED headlight of the Microletta moto-scooter has a built-in color display facing the rider
The Microletta electric three-wheeler tips the scales at 120 kg
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The Microletta electric three-wheeler tips the scales at 120 kg
The cargo space under the seat is home to two removable batteries
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The cargo space under the seat is home to two removable batteries
The Microletta's rear hub motor offers a top speed of 80 km/h
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The Microletta's rear hub motor offers a top speed of 80 km/h
The front door of the Microlino 2.0 features an integrated LED strip with included turn indicators
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The front door of the Microlino 2.0 features an integrated LED strip with included turn indicators
The steering column has been moved from the door to the floor
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The steering column has been moved from the door to the floor
Seating for two
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Seating for two
A tubular bar on the inside the door becomes a dashboard you can clip accessories onto
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A tubular bar on the inside the door becomes a dashboard you can clip accessories onto
The Microlino 2.0 (left) will begin production in 2021, while the Microletta is still a concept for now
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The Microlino 2.0 (left) will begin production in 2021, while the Microletta is still a concept for now
The charging port has been moved to the now wider rear, which features an LED strip with integrated turn indicators
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The charging port has been moved to the now wider rear, which features an LED strip with integrated turn indicators
View gallery - 12 images

Switzerland's Micro Mobility Systems AG has revealed a completely redesigned production version of the Microlino bubble city electric first revealed in Geneva in 2016, together with a moto-scooter concept and some new electric kickscooters.

Micro Mobility System AG started out selling e-scooters in 1999, and is still shifting around 1.5 million units every year. Recognizing that e-mobility doesn't come in a one-size-fits-all package, the company decided to expand into three last mile transport categories: e-kickscooters and e-bikes; medium distance moto-scooters; and small city cars to keep occupants protected from the weather for up to 200 km journeys. New products in each of these categories were announced last week.

The front door of the Microlino 2.0 features an integrated LED strip with included turn indicators
The front door of the Microlino 2.0 features an integrated LED strip with included turn indicators

Up first is the impossibly cute Microlino 2.0 four-wheel micro city car. Though the first generation wasn't actually made available for sale, the design team felt that a production model needed to have a new retro-modern look that will keep it fresh for years to come.

The company collaborated with the thousands of reservation holders on the new design, which now features an eye-catching LED light bar to the front and rear, with integrated turn signals. The charging port has been moved to the rear, and the rear track has increased by about 50 percent to accommodate some of the redesign elements.

The A pillar has been narrowed for improved visibility for the driver, the steering column has moved from the door to being fixed on the vehicle's floor, and the door handle is now on the side. There's a tablet-like display in front of the steering wheel, and a tubular bar along the inside of the door becomes the dash when the door is closed, and allows the driver to clip on accessories like a smartphone or Bluetooth speaker.

The steering column has been moved from the door to the floor
The steering column has been moved from the door to the floor

The team also took the opportunity to update the technical side of the design, with a pressed steel chassis instead of a tubular frame for improved rigidity, aluminum and steel replace the plastic body components of old – though the front and rear bumpers will still be plastic – and there's independent suspension to the front and rear. The motor has been moved from the rear axle to the chassis, and the underfloor NMC batteries offer a per charge range of 200 km (124 mi).

The Microlino 2.0 is priced at €12,000 (about US$13,770), and production is due to start in 2021.

The Microletta's rear hub motor offers a top speed of 80 km/h
The Microletta's rear hub motor offers a top speed of 80 km/h

Billed as the Microlino's little sister, the equally retro-cool Microletta electric 3-wheel scooter was presented as a pre-production concept, with availability still an unknown. It features tilting front wheels that allow you to lean into curves in much the same way as the Piaggio carver we tried in 2007. This tilting action can be locked upright for improved low speed stability and means riders can come to a dead stop and not put their feet on the floor.

The LED headlight has handlebars coming straight out of it, and a chrome-encircled color display faces the rider. Under a faux leather bench seat with enough room for two are two swappable batteries for a range of 100 km (62) per charge, which could also offer the possibility of Gogoro-like hotswap stations being set up, though the batteries here are not from Gogoro. The cargo trunk is big enough to stow away a helmet and other belongings too.

The cargo space under the seat is home to two removable batteries
The cargo space under the seat is home to two removable batteries

The rear wheel hub motor should be good for up to 80 km/h (50 mph) top speed, and stopping power comes courtesy of a foot brake on the foot plate, and a brake lever on the handlebar. Estimated cost when it does go up for sale is €4,900 (US$5,620).

The first of the two electric kickscooters to be added to Micro's line is the Micro-commuter, which is reckoned to be about half the size of others out there, and 30 percent lighter. Rather than install the batteries under the deck, this one features a removable battery pack mounted to the handlebars. It even has a built-in torch so it can double as a headlight when in place. This ride has a 20 km/h (12 mph) top speed, 10 km (6.2 mi) per charge range, and will be available mid-2020.

The Micro-explorer could be attractive to ride-share companies, given that it's been built to last for at least 1,000 km (620 mi). It rocks built-in suspension at both wheels, an integrated status display in the handlebar, and a twist throttle that can be turned forward to slow the e-kickscooter down while recharging the battery. The 500-W peak motor delivers a top speed of 25 km/h (15.5 mph). This model will be available from May for around €1,000 (US$1,150).

Source: Micro Mobility Systems AG

View gallery - 12 images
8 comments
f8lee
The car is an update of the Henkel Trojan "bubble car" from decades back, and while it is cute (plus has 4 wheels as compared to the Henkel's 3) putting the steering wheel column on the floor would seem to make entry and exit a bit more cumbersome.
RobertElliot
I'm not sure about the steering wheel mount otherwise the car sounds delightful. Combined with a scooter which I would have to get too I would be well suited.
Jose Gros
Hard competitor to the ICE 'MIcro car' models, requiring no driving license, sold at price close to Microlino, similar or higher than some regular Cars or Vans. 'Evovelo' is beautiful, too. Salut +
The Doubter
The micro scooter design is unnecessarily complicated by putting two wheels in the front. The weight is concentrated at the back where only one wheel is placed. Sometimes old is gold!
Mzungu_Mkubwa
That little scooter trike looks like it'd be just the thing! I wonder if anyone has tried to make a more recumbent sitting position with this type of small chassis? I'd think that'd make quite the fun carving machine to get around on! (Bubble car is very cool, too, but next to insanity for use in the U.S. anywhere but the golf coarse. Not that a scooter's much better, I guess!)
Steve Camp
1000E for The micro scooter? The site states close to 5000. So much for economy.
History Nut
The car looks like the old BMW Isetta which I always liked. A good idea for urban commuters. The scooter looks good too. The prices look good but I doubt they will be allowed to be sold in the USA due to all the regulations. One can hope. If the electric transportation industry wants to succeed, they need to standardize modular battery packs with easy swap-out mechanisms. This would extend ranges and make economically practical "filling stations" that keep charged batteries in racks which the customer can swap easily. When you can swap batteries like with a flashlight(torch for the English), it will win buyers over.
nick101
They are finally testing out vehicles you might envision a regular non-rich person driving, and it's about time.