Meet Microlino, the modern day Isetta with electric propulsion
It's set to go on sale this year for around €12,000
The Isetta (whether sold by Iso Rivolta or BMW) is without a doubt the quintessential bubble car, with a cult following around the world. Buying one is not easy because the supply of used Isettas is limited and the bubble car commands high prices. Nevertheless, you'll be able to buy a brand new one very soon.
That's because a modern day Isetta with an all-electric powertrain is in the works. Swiss company Micro Mobility has unveiled the first pre-series Microlino on January 24, and the car you see in the photos "is very close to series production."
Work on the project began in 2015, with the goal of creating a modern interpretation of the Isetta, both from a styling and technology point of view. With help from Zürich-based ZHAW university (responsible for the chassis), Designwerk GmbH (design), and Italian microcar manufacturer Tazzari (which assumes production duties), Micro Mobility has managed to bring the Isetta into the 21st century.
Design-wise, the Microlino is instantly recognizable, retaining the bubble shape, tiny dimensions, and unusual front door design of the original Isetta. Measuring just 2.4 meters in length, 1.5 meters in width, and 1.46 meters in height, the Microlino is smaller than the Smart Fortwo, which means it's ideal for cross-parking — the front-entrance will surely come in handy, allowing the two passengers to get out directly on the sidewalk.
The EV only weighs 450 kg (992 lb), without the battery pack and passengers. Combine that with an electric motor that delivers 15 kW (20 metric horsepower) and 110 Nm of instant torque, and you get a city car that's able to reach a top speed of 90 km/h (56 mph) and sprint from 0 to 50 km/h in 5 seconds — more than enough for the urban environment for which it has been designed.
With the standard 8-kWh battery, the Microlino can cover up to 120 km (75 miles) on a single charge, while the optional 14.4-kWh pack increases range to 215 km (133 miles). Recharging the standard battery takes four hours at any conventional domestic power socket, while a Type 2 connector does the same thing in just one hour. Believe it or not, the Microlino is practical too: it can seat two adult passengers in the front and two small children in the back, and accommodate 300 liters of luggage.
Production will start at the beginning of this year, with Micro Mobility asking around €12,000 for a standard Microlino. As the company puts it, that's less than a car, but a bit more than a motorbike.
The company is already taking reservations, so make sure you express your interest if you want to get one soon. Micro Mobility is asking a refundable €1,000 deposit for that and claims to have more than 4,500 reservations already — most of them received even before the car was shown in its final form.
So, what's it going to be, the Microlino or the Uniti One EV?