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Content - First Swiss micro electric vehicle to hit the road

  • July 31, 2018

First Swiss micro electric vehicle to hit the road

Tokyo (SCCIJ) – “Microlino”, the first micro electric vehicle from Switzerland, is about to hit the roads after the cute mini car has passed the last tests for its homologation in the European Union. Mass production of Microlino may begin by the end of this year. This special battery driven mini vehicle may also reach Japan in the near future. Micro Mobility Systems, the Swiss inventor of Microlino, already operates a sales office in Tokyo for its large variety of micro scooters. Only a local manufacturing partner is required to get the Microlino on the road in Japan.

Swiss mini EV "Microlino" prototype

EU homologation 

“The homologation is a huge step, because it means that from now on every Microlino that we produce is street legal all over Europe”, the company Micro Mobility Systems AG from Küsnacht, Switzerland, said in a statement. The Swiss producer of small mobility devices talked about amazing results from the range testing which outperformed its own calculations: “For the small battery (8kW/h) we reached 126 km during the road testing and for the big one (14.4kW/h) we reached 202 km.” 

Micro Mobility Systems expects to produce the first series of Microlinos by the end of September. Soon after that, potential buyers will get the chance to test drive the Microlino and give their feedback. Together with its findings, the company will implement the feedback into a final version. Production will start in December 2018 and therefore the first deliveries in Switzerland will happen soon after. “From there on, we will expand step by step into other countries as well,” the company said. 

Licensed manufacturing

The initial focus will be on the European market, but the young enterprise plans to enter other markets soon thereafter by granting licenses to manufacturers, thus allowing assembly and distribution to be organized in the respective countries. This licensing system is supposed to ensure local jobs, avoid high import duties and reduce CO2 emissions as a result of shorter transportation routes. 

According to the company website, the Microlino has two seats, a curb weight of 450 kg, a range of 120 or 215 kilometers (bigger battery) and a maximum speed of 90 km/h, which would be more than enough for an urban environment. With just 2.4 meters’ length, the Microlino is ideal for cross-parking, the front-entrance enables getting out directly on the sidewalk. 

The selling price will be around 12'000 Euros, less than a car, but a bit more than a motorbike. One big advantage: The Microlino can be recharged at any conventional domestic power socket in four hours, with a Type 2 connector in just one hour.

Swiss inventor Wim Oubouter and his two sons with their EV "Microlino" prototype (click to enlarge)

Swiss inventor Wim Oubouter and his two sons with their EV "Microlino" prototype (click to enlarge)

Inspired by 1950s’ bubble cars

The visionary and pioneer behind Micro Mobility Systems is Wim Ouboter who invented the Micro Scooter and Kickboard and turned it into a lifestyle product. Together with his two sons, he had the idea to create a space-saving and eco-friendly vehicle for urban mobility.  

On average, a car is only occupied by 1.2 people and drives 35 kilometers per day. This means that normal cars are too big for most of their use. The ideal vehicle for urban use should therefore be a mix between a motorbike and a car, the inventor decided. Such vehicles, also called bubble cars, were very popular in the 1950s, because people wanted more comfort than on a motorbike but could not afford a real car. With rising living standards, the demand decreased and most manufacturers had stopped production of their bubble cars already by 1962. 

Driven by the vision to create the ideal city vehicle, the first design drafts were made in 2015. The goal was to create a bubble car with modern design and technology. In addition, it should be eco-friendly in production and during usage. In collaboration with the university ZHAW and Designwerk, his company conducted several studies in order to find the ideal balance between the advantages of a motorbike and a car.  

Start of production

The company went to China in order to create the first prototype based on the new design, which was built between August 2015 and January 2016. The car was then presented to the public for the first time at the Geneva Motor Show. This generated over 200 million media contacts and within a week more than 500 reservations were received. In total, over 6,300 reservations have been placed since February 2016. 

In April 2016 Micro Mobility Systems started a joint venture with Italian car manufacturer Tazzari which has more than ten years of experience in the development and production of light electric cars. They are focusing on all technical aspects of the car and production, while the Swiss are responsible for the design, marketing and distribution. Production will begin in the second half of 2018 at the Tazzari factory in the heart of the famous Motor Valley in Italy.   

 

Text: SCCIJ based on Micro Mobility Systems material; Photos: Micro Mobility Systems

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