Approval granted, production in full swing, orders accumulating: The Microlinos, strongly reminiscent of the legendary Isetta, should roll out soon.
From scooter to electric car. That, in a nutshell, summarizes the success story of Wim Ouboters. The Swiss entrepreneur with Dutch roots, his grandfather was from Holland, is the boss of Micro Mobility Systems, which designs and sells pedal scooters and kickboards – quite successfully, too, despite a few setbacks and numerous competitors.
Now, Ouboter is boldly entering a new field. From two to four wheels, from sidewalk to street. We’re talking about the Microlino, a vehicle similar to a bubble car, driven by an electric motor. A modern BMW Isetta, so to say. The prototype was presented at the Geneva Motor Salon already in 2016.
From vision to first designs of the prototype
The idea came from Ouboter and his sons Oliver and Merlin. The vision: a compact and environmentally-friendly means of transport. In times when only one person occupies a large car and normally drives short distances, the Microlino is the perfect solution for daily individual travel.
The first designs were produced and studies were carried out in 2015, together with the Zurich University of Applied Sciences and the Designwerk company. The prototype was built in the same year and presented in Geneva in 2016. The concept soon enthralled the masses. After just one week, 500 orders for the Microlino were placed.
The inner values of the Microlino
The first pre-series vehicle was presented in early 2018; it was very similar to the final model. As expected, the Microlino has two seats, reached via the front doors. It is powered by a 15kW electric motor. There is a choice of two batteries: An 8 kWh version with a range of 125 km, and a 14.4 kWh version that should allow a journey of about 200 km. Charging the battery at a charging pole takes one hour (in the case of the smaller battery), using a domestic socket takes four times as long. The maximum speed for the city car is a brisk 90 km/h. Its empty weight is 435 kg, the maximum load is about 200 kg. With a volume of 300 liters, the Microlino’s trunk is generous, four crates of drink fit inside. In contrast to the trunk, the interior is rather meager. Electrically-operated windows are just as absent as the heated seats that are so popular in winter.
Thought up in Switzerland, made in Germany
Originally, the production partner was to be the Imola-based Tazzari GL S.p.A, an experienced partner in electric cars. But a «luxury problem» soon surfaced. The Italian company’s production was only geared to a small series. But because orders for the Microlino had exceeded 10,000 units in the meantime, it was necessary to raise the dimension. So manufacturing rights were transferred to Artega. This German car manufacturer, known until now for its sports cars, has invested about 3 million euro in a production plant and assembly lines and created about 50 jobs. In some 3,000 square meters of space, up to 8,000 cars per year should be produced in the long term.
To be seen on the road this spring
The cars are to be sold in their own flagship stores. Costing about 14,000 francs, the electric minicar is available in eight colors, including «Zurich blue», which befits its Swiss origin. Here, the first Microlinos should be delivered already this spring. As a service and maintenance partner, it was possible to engage Bosch Switzerland, which has 70 locations in Switzerland.
For further information on Microlino visit micro-mobility.com.