The Isetta “Bubble Car” began its life in Italy in the 1950s with Iso, before being licensed by BMW. Since then, it has retained a fan base who love the car for its diminutive footprint and quirky design. More than a few designers have toyed with the idea of bringing a modern version of the Isetta back to the market, and now a Swiss company by the name of Micro Mobility Systems are having a go, with their new ‘Microlino’.
The Microlino is an electric vehicle, although Micro Mobility Systems won’t go so far as to call it a ‘car’. That’s because the vehicle is actually classed as a motorised quadricycle, similar to the Renault Twizy. This also means that the Microlino isn’t subject to the same safety regulations or rigorous crash tests as traditional vehicles. Even the Microlino’s pedestal at the recent Geneva show loudly declared, “This is not a car!”
The man behind the Microlino is inventor Wim Ouboter, who was also responsible for creating the Micro Scooter and Kickboard. Ouboter collaborated with the Swiss university ZHAW to create the concept of for the new Microlino, a vehicle which they hoped would be environmentally friendly, yet small and swift, “so you could always find a parking spot in the city without going crazy.”
Micro began taking non-binding reservations for the first 500 Microlinos at the Geneva show, and received quite a bit of interest – achieving 500 reservations in just 13 days. The first series production is expected in late 2017, with an estimated price range of about $9,000 to $13,500 USD. For that you’ll get a 15kW electric motor that can propel the vehicle to a top speed of about 100km/h (62mph), with a driving range of about 96 to 120 kilometres (60 to 75 miles) per charge.
That is, if the Microlino ever makes it into production. At this stage things are looking good, and we hope that Micro are able to succeed with the Microlino where others before them have failed.