The tiny Microlino is a start-up EV with eau de Isetta
Electric cars are no longer a fringe industry, with the largest automotive companies investing big in rechargeable transportation. One of the quirkier outfits to join the pursuit of electric motivation is Microlino, a European company with hopes of creating a bubble car that the commuting public will fall in love with.
One glance at the Microlino concept or pre-production car will draw your mind back to the late 1950s, and that is no accident. Microlino founder Wim Ouboter wanted to design the ideal urban vehicle, and thought back to a time when European commuters were transitioning from motorbikes to cars and needed affordable and space saving options that were also fully enclosed. With that focus, the BMW Isetta rose to the top as a design worth re-imagining.
Nostalgia for classic designs is strong; even the big names like Volkswagen are in on the trend. The latest Microbus concept is both electric and heavily retro-influenced.
What the design sketches and pre-production cars show is heavy classic influence without using a classic car as the base. Converting classic cars to electric power is also not a new concept, but Microlino went for a fresh take on a classic design utilizing modern production methods and standards. According to Microlino, the adorable little electrics are a joint venture with EV specialists Tazzari, and thanks to cooperation with Bosch Car Service will be serviced at a multitude of shops across Europe.
The Microlino is not a market-changing creation, but merely a very tiny city car that the company hopes the public will think is cute enough to give up their full-sized car. With a top speed of 56 mph and range of 120 miles with the larger of the two available batteries, it might stand a chance. Smart has been very successful in Europe with the ForTwo, and like the Smart, the Microlino can cross-park perpendicular to the curb without impeding traffic.
For now though, Microlino still has a few hurdles to get over before we can find out the true public reaction. The company’s website cites production to begin this year, with plans to scale up in 2019 and 8000 reservations already on the books. The roughly $13,000 advertised starting price does sound attractive in a market filled with upscale electrics. We will have to wait to find out if this retro electric is the city car people want or a stylish accessory for just a few.