The Isetta is coming back as an electric car
April 2, 2018
[images / Micro Mobility
The Microlino will offer 133 miles of range on a full charge in top trim.
Two battery capacity versions are planned
The Microlino enters production this summer, with 133 miles of range in top
As electric cars begin to spread into the lineups of automakers big and
small, another wave of retro cars has materialized on the horizon ...
A Swiss scooter maker called Micro Mobility has another unconventional but
still retro car in the works: the Microlino, styled after the classic Isetta
bubble car that was best known for its BMW-derived version (Ed note: and
starring role as Steve Urkel's car in the television masterpiece "Family
Matters"). The company showed off a prototype at the Geneva auto show and is
planning to start production this summer.
The Microlino is expected to be offered with a choice of two battery
capacities -- 8 kWh or 14.4 kWh -- offering ranges of 74.5 miles or 133.5
miles. With a top speed of 56 mph, the Microlino is designed for dense
cities, taking advantage of its compact proportions to carve out parking
"In collaboration with the university ZHAW and Designwerk, we conducted
several studies on the necessary adjustments to transform this design of the
past into a car of the future," Micro Mobility said. "For testing purposes,
we electrified an old Isetta to analyze our results and get a feeling of
such a small car. From all the positive reactions and excitement from people
on the street, we knew that this project had to be further developed."
The accommodations are spartan, in keeping with the spirit of the original.
The layout of the Microlino won't change much from what the Isetta offered:
There is a single bench up front for a driver and a passenger, along with a
steering wheel and instrument panel incorporated into the front door that
opens refrigerator-style. The rear door, which opens upward, offers a modest
cargo area, while the battery is located under the floor. The headlights are
located in pods that double as side-view mirrors in another nod to the
Will you be able to buy one in the U.S.? The company plans to offer the
Microlino in Europe and license its production, but it hasn't mentioned
plans for U.S. sales. Due to its limited speed and, ahem, design-limited
crash safety potential, licensing for the road is not likely but it may (in
theory) still be registered as a low-speed EV not meant for public roads,
depending on the state.
Ultimately, there is no way to make a modernized Isetta comply with federal
crash safety regulations short of adding a hood and making the whole thing
Smart EV-sized, at which point it'll cease to be an Isetta.
We have an easier time picturing the Microlino sharing road space with
dozens of Vespa scooters in a quaint Italian village in the Alps or finding
a parking spot along the canals of Amsterdam than being subjected to the
horrors of Los Angeles traffic or competing for space with trucks doing 80
mph on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
[© Crain Communications]
A Swiss scooter company wants to sell you an electric Urkel-mobile
April 3, 2018 Swiss scooter company Micro Mobility experienced this when it
built and electrified an Isetta test vehicle recently, and now it has
decided to build a more modern production version, according to Automotive
... The Microlino packs most of the Isetta's charm into a modern electric
city car, even the amazing front-opening door ...
Steve Urkel's Isetta-ice
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