Testing of Microlino 2.0 electric bubble car prototypes begins
Back in early 2016, a Swiss electric micro-mobility company revealed an electric reworking of the front-loading BMW Isetta bubble car. Though expected to go into production last year, the Microlino was subjected to a future-retro design overhaul instead and the company has now started building prototypes ahead of manufacture in 2021.
Micro Mobility Systems AG says that computer modeling of the Microlino 2.0 L7e category (heavy quadricycle) electric vehicle has been completed and now such things as the drivetrain, front and rear suspension, folding roof and LED light bars need to be tested out in the real world.
To that end, a bare-bones prototype chassis has now been built and testing of the new drivetrain and rear axle has begun, with the company posting a video of the first drive to its Facebook channel late last week. Next up will be a full prototype with all of the bells and whistles included.
The revised Microlino 2.0 is reported more spacious inside. The dash shown back in March has been confirmed for the production model, though the switches and buttons have been sacrificed for a small touch display as well as the digital instrument cluster. This will allow the designers more freedom when deciding on what kind of functionality to offer.
The funky LED light bars to the front and rear will also make it through to series production, and will include position lighting, brake lights and turn indicators.
Elsewhere, the company is targeting a curb weight of 513 kg (1,130 lb), two Li-ion battery options will be available – 8 kWh for 125 km of range or 14.4 kWh for 200 km (77 or 124 mi) – and charging the vehicle from a standard wall outlet could take as little as four hours. The 11-kW powertrain will roll the vehicle from standstill to 50 km/h in five seconds on its way to a top speed of 90 km/h (55 mph), and produce 100 Nm (73 lb.ft) of torque.
Given its diminutive dimensions, the Microlino 2.0 will be able to squeeze into tight inner city parking spots without so much as a grumble. In fact, it's reckoned that three of these bubble cars should be able to fit into a parking space designed to accommodate one full-size car, with the door at the front allowing them to get cosy with each other.
The first full prototype should be completed by next month, and there are expected to be at least five prototypes built before series production begins some time in 2021. The base price is €12,000 (about US$14,675), and reservations are being accepted now.
Source: Micro Mobility Systems AG