BMW Isetta is a strange car from the 1950s and ’60s. It has a quirky egg shape and minimalistic interior, but the most recognizable feature is the single front-opening door. Back then it was a symbol of the chap and cheerful mobility on the European roads.
However, two Swiss brothers took this legend and gave it a new life. They have been developing their own version 56 years after the last one left the doors of the Bavarian manufacturer.
Oliver and Merlin Ouboter have received more than 7,200 orders for their interesting car, named Microlino. It looks very similar to the older BMW Isetta: single front-opening door, bubble-like design, minimalistic interior. The only significant difference is the powertrain. The old version used to have a single-cylinder petrol engine. Now, it is swapped with a 20-horsepower electric motor. They plan to launch the car in December.
The brothers got their love of manufacturing strange cars from their father Wim who made millions from modernized kick-scooters.
According to Oliver, the project’s chief, the average modern car is way too big for normal use. He cited statistics showing the average car journey involves 1.2 passengers driving less than 20 miles.
Previously, they built two prototypes of the electric BMW Isetta in China and showed one at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, where enthusiasts received them warmly.
First, they created a reservation list with 500 spots on it, but it filled up in 3-4 days. Then, they found another solution. Italian manufacturer Tazzari has bought a 50 percent stake in the project and provided the possibility to produce 5,000 of the vehicles per year.
The price of the Microlino will be 12,000 euros ($13,600). Pre-existing components keep costs down. The motor, for example, is a modified version of a forklift powerplant, and the door handles come from the Fiat 500. The car has a range of 74 miles and a top speed of 55 mph. It needs 4 hours in order to charge.