Lately, we don’t pay a lot of attention to all of the new electric cars coming “any time now.” So many EV companies either disappear, get into financial trouble, or shoot themselves in the foot enough that we can’t keep up. So that’s how we viewed the attempt by Swiss manufacturer Microlino when it announced the production of its retro bubble car sometime this year. And sure enough, it is actually in production right now.
The Microlino EV looks like a 1950s Isetta
Microlino’s Pioneer Series bubble car began production just a few months ago. It is loosely based on the Isetta microcar initially built in Italy in the early 1950s to early 1960s. Eventually, it was licensed to different manufacturers like BMW in various European and South American countries.
Since then, there have been replica kits and restoration businesses centered around the iconic bubble car. But Microlino decided to adapt it to be both contemporary by design and also by propulsion. From the outside, the bubble car still looks like an Isetta but zoomed up for the 2020s.
How much power and range does the Microlino have?
Electric power is from a BMZ 10.5 kWh battery pack. There are no other power options. But this EV system does give 110 miles of range. With its ternary battery cells, it is lighter than using LFP cells.
Microlino will build only 999 Pioneer Series cars. That’s a far cry from the over 24,000 reservations that came in for it after initially revealing details. There were plans for only 500 units. While anyone can go on the reservation list, because of established distribution, probably most, if not all, Pioneer models will go to only Germany and Switzerland.
Will Microlino build more than 999 EV bubble cars?
These will be identified by special Pioneer identification plates, sunroofs, vegan leather and suede interiors, and a portable Bluetooth speaker. There will also be two paint offerings in either Atlantis Blue or Torino Aluminum. These features will distinguish this first series from those coming down the pike in the future.
Yes, there will be plenty more bubble cars in the near future. There are plans for more limited edition models according to Microlino founder Wim Ouboter.
But that’s why the Pioneer Series is limited to 999, to keep it exclusive enough to justify the price. At current Euro exchange rates, it is selling for $12,500. There are currently no plans to import the bubble car into the U.S., though it could be licensable as a motorcycle. It has a top speed of 55 mph.
Two circumstances confound U.S. distribution. First, there are no U.S. distribution channels. And the other is production capacity. With so many orders and a set amount of cars Microlino is able to produce, it has plenty of orders to fulfill over the next few years.
So we’ll have to see if enough interest stateside motivates the company to look further into U.S. sales.
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