Zurich entrepreneur Wim Ouboter invented the microscooter in the 1990’s as a vehicle for “microdistances”. Now he’s hoping to once again alter urban mobility with an electrified version of the classic Isetta “bubble car” as a retro-stylish, all-weather alternative to a motorcycle. “Reduce to the max is our philosophy and I would say this has a fantastic place in the mobility chain as we call it.”
The Microlino is technically not a car (so is not subject to same crash tests), but an L7e motorized quadricycle. While it tops out at 100 kph, or 62 mph, it’s meant for all those short trips we make within town, what Ouboter argues make up 90% of our auto use.
The original Isetta debuted in the 1950s when BMW wanted to provide an affordable, highly fuel-conscious vehicle for post-war Europe. The original design was created by the Italian company Iso Rivolta who licensed it to six carmakers. BMW went on to produce 160,000 Isettas, some of which are still popular among collectors today.
Ouboter’s Micro Mobility Systems debuted their electric version of the Isetta, the Microlino, at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, where they racked up 500 reservations in less than 2 weeks. Touting it as an “ideal city vehicle” and a space-saver (“3 Microlinos fit in one parking space”), the company hopes to start production in 2018 with the first vehicles priced between 8,000 and 12,000 euros.