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The BMW Isetta is an iconic midcentury bubble car built from 1955 to 1962. The “Motocoupé” was BMW’s solution to decreasing motorbike sales and the crushing expense of its luxury line production. Essentially a moped in a car costume, about 8,500 were imported to the U.S. It’s estimated that 1,000 or fewer exist today from coast to coast. The beloved microcar has been making a long-planned comeback, this time as a Neighborhood Electic Vehicle (NEV). Let’s meet the Microlino and its new little sibling, the Microlino Lite.

Swiss company Micro currently manufactures two versions of a small Isetta-esque EV while posing in all-caps “How much car do you really need?” Micro revealed the Microlino, a bubble car with a 141-mile range, in 2018. Its max speed is about 55 mph. Touting a $20K price tag, the company quickly received over 35,000 reservations.

The 2024 Micro Microlino Lite NEV

At the 2024 Geneva Motor Show this week, Micro unveils the Microlino Lite, an L6e version of its predecessor. It’ll have about the same range as the Microlino but a reduced top speed of 28 mph. With an MSRP of $18,725, it’s much more in reach than other available new EVs. European deliveries should start in Summer 2024.

A blue Microlino Lite neighborhood electric bubble car is shown parked in full left profile view at the 2024 Geneva Auto Show
Micro Microlino Lite NEV | Micro

While seemingly stunted on the spec side, the Microlino Lite has big international plans: to widely appeal to city dwellers plus teenagers and adults who don’t have a driver’s license.

“The Microlino Lite is our contribution to making sustainable mobility solutions accessible to an even wider community. We recognize the growing need for such mobility, especially among those who want to be safe and protected from the weather without a driver’s license,” said Merlin Ouboter, Microlino’s co-founder, in a press release.

The company continuously emphasizes use cases for bubble cars. In several places on their site, Micro shares that, on average, cars occupy only one person and are only driven about 21 miles daily. Considering how most people use their cars, Micro insists that folks can easily downsize and use NEVs for their around-town errands.

Like many Swiss products, concept, design, and marketing are inside jobs, but production is another story. Like the Isetta, the Microlino is built in Italy. Speaking of Italian roots, if you think the front of these cars looks like a fridge, you’re on target there. The Isetta was designed with the help of Iso Revolta, which built refrigerators and small cars.

While there’s no set U.S. delivery date, Micro hopes to introduce the Microlino Lite to the American market soon. In some Euro zones, the Lite can be operated by folks as young as 14.

Sources: BMW, Lehigh Valley Marketplace