What you’re looking at is the Microlino 2.0 electric microcar and Microletta electric trike from Switzerland’s Micro Mobility Systems.
The Microlino is a complete redesign of the original concept revealed in 2015, and demonstrated today for the first time in public. Unfortunately, the event had to happen over a live stream due to the cancellation of the Geneva Auto Show. Today is also the first time we’re seeing the three-wheeled Microletta electric motorbike that goes 80km/h (almost 50 mph) but doesn’t require a motorcycle license.
The four-wheeled Microlino is a new version of the microcars that once skittered along post-WWII streets in Europe until the 1960s. This electric two-seater bears more than a passing resemblance to the Italian-designed Iso Isetta “bubble car” manufactured by BMW and others. Yes, Steve Urkel had one.
The Microlino 2.0 has the same 90km/h top speed and 200km (124 miles) max reported range of the original Microlino design. It’ll also have the same price of €12,000 (about $13,350) when it begins shipping in 2021. The company claims to have amassed over 17,000 preorders for the old design, and changed it to address concerns with quality, safety, and handling, with an assist from fans and customers.
The new 2.0 design has moved to a steel and aluminum chassis and a wider rear axle to accommodate front and rear independent suspensions. The new synchronous motor is more powerful (15kW) and efficient, and the interior more spacious with better visibility thanks to a taller car, more compact battery pack, and narrower A-pillar. The denser NMC battery pack can be charged from a normal household socket in four hours. Microlino is just 2.4 meters (7.87 feet) long, allowing three of them to fit within a typical parking spot.
The interior has also been completely redesigned. The Microlino steering column is now fixed and no longer connected to the front door. That allows the door to open further making entering and existing the vehicle easier. The seat offers more comfort and the dash is entirely digital now. The dashboard can be customized with your own smartphone, Bluetooth speakers, and other accessories, says Micro. An aluminum bar that runs from side to side pays homage to the Micro kick scooter that gave the company its start.
Micro also showed its electric Microletta three-wheeled motorbike for the first time today. The two front wheels offer better grip when cornering and a shorter braking distance, according to the company, and allows it to stand upright when coming to a stop at an intersection. It has room for two removable batteries for a range of over 100km, according to Micro. Despite a max speed of 80km/h, it doesn’t require a special motorcycle license in Europe since it’s classified as a tricycle (two-wheeled electric motorbikes require a special license above 45km/h). The Microletta e-trike can already be reserved on Micro’s website with an expected price of about €4,900 (about $5,450), although the production date is still undecided.
Tiny electric cars like the Microlino and Citroën Ami are ideal for compact European cities where you’ll rarely go faster than 50km/h (31 mph). Don’t fret, Americans; you’ll soon have your choice between electric Hummers, Cybertrucks, and F-150s.
All images from Micro Mobility Systems.