Automotive

Microlino electrifies the Isetta "bubble car"

The Microlino EV is powered by a 15 kW motor for a top speed of 100 km/h (62 mph)
The Microlino EV is powered by a 15 kW motor for a top speed of 100 km/h (62 mph)
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The Microlino EV is powered by a 15 kW motor for a top speed of 100 km/h (62 mph)
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The Microlino EV is powered by a 15 kW motor for a top speed of 100 km/h (62 mph)
The original Isetta bubble car
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The original Isetta bubble car
The Microlino draws its inspiration from the BMW Isetta bubble car
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The Microlino draws its inspiration from the BMW Isetta bubble car

Swiss company Micro Mobility Systems AG has gone back to the future for inspiration for its Microlino electric vehicle. Revealed in prototype form at the Geneva Motor Show, the Microlino electrifies the Italian-designed Isetta "bubble car" made famous by BMW, which built the vehicle under license from 1955 to 1963.

In light of pint-sized urban vehicles like the smart fortwo and Renault Twizy, the Isetta could be seen as well ahead of its time. Unlike the Twizy, however, the bubble car shape allows two passengers to sit side-side in relative comfort.

And despite Urkel driving an Isetta on Family Matters, the design apparently has a retro cool factor with Micro Mobility Systems quickly filling reservations for the first 500 Microlinos after the Geneva showing. There's no doubt there are plenty of benefits to the Microlino's tiny design. Three sitting side-by-side only take up one traditional parking space, and they're cheap to buy and run.

The Microlino draws its inspiration from the BMW Isetta bubble car
The Microlino draws its inspiration from the BMW Isetta bubble car

The EV will have a range of about 100 km (62 mi), and a top speed of 100 km/h (62 mph) thanks to a 15 kW (20 hp) electric motor, while charging is handled by a regular wall socket and an inbuilt cable drum.

Those figures are similar to the Renault Twizy, a comparison that makes more sense when you consider how both vehicles are classed and taxed. Technically both are classified as an L7e motorized quadricycle, which means you pay less tax and don't have to meet the same stringent safety standards as regular cars.

Micro Mobility Systems is aiming to launch the Microlino in early 2018 with a price tag between €8,000 and €10,000 (US$8,950 and $11,200).

Source: Microlino

12 comments
jerryd
Way cool ride!! For most people it'll do what they need at a low price. Just so people know you can now build 325 'replicas' of 25+ yr_old looking cars with minimal regulations so this could be built limitedly here in the US. I'm hoping to do a batch of 63 Vette looking all composite EV's. ;^))
Tom Lee Mullins
I think that is pretty nice. Compared to other new takes on the Isetta, this one is nice looking. It would be neat to have one to drive around town.
Dr-Zin
The US will more than likely not let this car in due to safety reg. I always loved it but a frontal hit would mean big problems here, over there not so much.
PiaNicoleMuñozDesselle
I want one! The coolest.
dugnology
I LOVE THIS.
Jose Gros
This Microlino is a late egg to the Smart, having a precedent in the University of Michigan Urban Vehicle, SAE paper 730512, and a competitor in the remakes of the Isetta and Messerschmitt cars produced in China by Yongkang Lvfan, Electric City Cars (GlobalSources com)
Daishi
When this car traveled the roads the beasts it were up against on roads were different sizes. Even in the 80's lots of companies made cars that were 1500 lbs and now even something like a Honda Civic is twice that. Safety has led to an arms race of larger and heavier cars with 4,000 and 5,000 lb cars and SUV's being basically the norm for commuter vehicles. The other thing is people themselves have grown in average size in the last 50 years. Men are about 2 inches taller and 30 lbs heavier on average than they were in the 60's.
wanderkip
Competitive with the Elio, yet actually better looking in a retro-cool way. Concerns about safety mean little, when considered as an all-weather option to a motorbike or scooter. These are designed for those who want to experience life, with all of it's inherent risks. Those insecure people who feel vulnerable and nervous on the road without 2 tons of steel... should take the bus!
ljaques
Finally, someone is coming out with an inexpensive and local-only type of vehicle which would work for 90% of the population in cities. More power to 'em!
Timelord
I've always wanted an electric Isetta. e-Setta would be a much better name than "Microlino." Unfortunately, the Microlino would never meet US regulations, not even for NEVs, and will never be allowed on US roads.