BMW Isetta Reborn as EV, Still Cute (w/ Video)

Isetta, BMW’s iconic bubble car penned in 1952 by Ermenegildo Preti and Pierluigi Raggi for Renzo Rivolta, has been reborn as an electric car. At the time, Rivolta’s company, Iso, was making refrigerators, motor scooters and small three wheel trucks. He wanted to manufacture a small car that could be mass produced. The Isetta was the result. The name in Italian is a diminutive of Iso.

BMW Isetta Reborn as EV Concept


Diminutive is an apt description for the Isetta. The tiny vehicle was powered by an equally tiny 200 cc single cylinder engine. The 1955 BMW Isetta became the first production car to use less than 3 liters of gasoline to go 100 kilometers, an achievement that cars of today are only now able to duplicate. To get into the car, the entire front panel swung up and out of the way, taking the steering wheel with it. Crash resistance was something people didn’t think about then, which was probably a good thing, since the Isetta had none.

Now, according to Technologic Vehicles, Micro, the Swiss electric scooter manufacturer, has decided to re-introduce the Isetta as a contemporary electric car called the Microlino. Almost a carbon copy of the original, it features the same side hinged front door and slide away steering column. It is powered by a 12 kW electric motor driving the rear wheel. Top speed is  54 mph and the car has a range of about 80 miles. Best of all, it sells for just a whisker over $10,000.


Electric Isetta / Microlino in Action

There are lots of electric vehicles on the market that sell for more and offer less, especially when it comes to protection from the elements. The Microlino weighs about 900 lbs without the battery. Best of all, you can add an eMicro One electric kickboard to take you that last mile after you park you Microlino. Micro showed the car publicly for the first time in Geneva earlier this month. It says it already has 340 reservations for its all electric way back machine.

Don’t expect any to reach America. The idea of this car undergoing modern crash testing is too scary to even think about. That doesn’t mean the original was not as cute as can be!

BMW Isetta
Photo by the author.


Steve Hanley

Closely following the transition from internal combustion to electricity. Whether it's cars, trucks, ships, or airplanes, sustainability is the key. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.