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This article was published on September 10, 2021

The ultra cute electric Microlino wants to bring back bubble cars

Will microcars dominate the European streets?

The ultra cute electric Microlino wants to bring back bubble cars
Ioanna Lykiardopoulou
Story by

Ioanna Lykiardopoulou

Ioanna is a writer at SHIFT. She likes the transition from old to modern, and she's all about shifting perspectives. Ioanna is a writer at SHIFT. She likes the transition from old to modern, and she's all about shifting perspectives.

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What we’ve learned from the IAA Mobility in Munich so far is that the show’s biggest winners aren’t really cars, but alternative modes of transport.

In this spirit, let’s meet the Microlino 2.0, designed for the urbanites who might want a mini city-vehicle without the hustle of finding (or paying for) a large parking space. And for the suckers for cuteness as well.

The Microlino
Credit: microlino-car.com
The electric two-seater measures 2.4m long, 1.5m wide, and 1.4m high.

Technically, it’s a quadricycle, but we can sure call it a retro electric bubble car due to its resemblance with the 1950s Isetta.

bubble car
Credit: bubble car
The 1955 Isetta.

Unlike the Isetta, the Microlino 2.0 is powered by electricity. It will come in three models with different battery size and capability: Urban (6kWh battery), Dolce (10.5kWh), and Competizione (14kWh). These three versions will serve projected ranges of 95km, 175km, and 230km, respectively. 

In fact, this sounds very impressive for a microcar. For reference, the normal-sized Renault Zoe ZE40 R110 has a 255km range on a single charge.

Microlino 2.0
Credit: microlino-car.com
The Microlino can be charged within 4 hours in a standard house socket. Plugging it into an EV charging station reduces charging time to an hour.

Despite its tiny size, it has a 25hp motor and a top speed of 90km/h, which is more than one would need for urban driving.

Microlino 2.0
Credit: microlino-car.com
Three Microlinos can fit into a single parking space head- or tail-first.

Interestingly, this EV doesn’t have any side doors, but instead has a large front door from which the occupants can enter.

Microlino 2.0
Credit: microlino-car.com
That’s kinda weird.

It’s interior is rather minimalistic, but does have a digital instrument panel, and a surprising 220 liter trunk volume.

Microlino 2.0
Credit: microlino-car.com
The Microlino’s ‘spartan’ interior.
Microlino 2.0
Credit: microlino-car.com
It looks like you could definitely fit two crates of beer and a big pack of soft drinks.

Production will start this year in Turin, Italy. Microlino aims to launch in the Europe and its base price is $14,500 and the company expects to begin with an annual production capacity of 7,500 vehicles.

Microlino 2.0
Credit: microlino-car.com
To add to its cuteness, the Microlino will come in eight charming colors, named after European cities.

So, here’s the big question: while microcars are an increasingly popular choice in China and Japan, could they become the next big “thing” in Europe as well?

My guess is that it’s indeed very possible. People are getting more environmentally conscious, micromobility services are booming, and there’s an increasing demand for reducing traffic congestion in urban centers.

Add these to the relatively low price tag, and the odds are high. Up until now, 24,000 buyers having already placed reservations for a Microlino, a great indication of a new trend.


Do EVs excite your electrons? Do ebikes get your wheels spinning? Do self-driving cars get you all charged up? 

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