Updated electric Isetta microcar ready for sale in Europe


Microlino, the maker of scooters and kickboards is ready to launch an electric microcar in Europe.

Run by two Swiss brothers, the company unveiled its recreation of the tiny single-door BMW Isetta at the Geneva auto show two years ago, and has now partnered with with boutique Italian coachmaker Tazzari to build up to 10,000 copies of the car a year.

At a price of $13,600, Microlino says it already has 7,200 orders for the car.

Microlino's design stays pretty true to the original Isetta, with a single hinged door at the front, with the steering column attached. Once the driver tucks into the bench seat behind the stubby pedals and the steering wheel, a second passenger can squeeze in beside.

The Microlino will offer two different lithium-ion battery sizes: an 8-kwh unit is good for 74 miles, and a 14.4-kwh version will cover 133 miles.

The company says charging will take four hours.

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Either way, the Microlino is strictly a city car, with a top speed of 55 mph from its 20-hp electric motor.

Like the original Isetta, designed to carry economically devastated people through war-torn Europe after World War II, the Microlino is just 8 feet long, almost 2 feet shorter than a Smart car. It even tucks a 10.6 cubic-foot trunk into that footprint.

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Unlike the Smart car, when the Microlino parks perpendicular to the curb, between cars, the passengers can still exit the front.

The company says it plans to build 100 Microlinos this year, and quickly ramp up production to at least 5,000 units next year.

It only plans to sell the car in Europe and in China so far, in part because the front door and forward controls are unlikely to pass U.S. crash standards.

 
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