Transport turnaround: mini e-mobiles for the city

Transport turnaround: mini e-mobiles for the city

Microlino 2.0, planned for 2021.

© Micro Mobility
Microlino 2.0, planned for 2021.

A range of 70 kilometers and a mere 45 kilometers per hour: Tesla drivers can laugh about it. But that’s all it takes in the city. Can mini cars make e-mobility halfway affordable even without funding?

They are as fast as sports cars and, at least in theory, can travel halfway across Germany on one battery charge. But electric cars like a Tesla Model S or an Audi E-Tron have seemingly endless charging times, are heavier than some small trucks and cost as much as a luxury sedan: Such vehicles are not suitable for the masses and, in the eyes of many critics, hopelessly oversized.

While e-mobility with cars like the VW ID 3 or the electric Opel Corsa As a result, especially in the volume segments, some manufacturers are turning their gaze even further down and serving a comparatively new, even smaller vehicle class. Mini-mobiles, which are tailored to urban traffic with modest driving performance and short ranges, are intended to bring e-mobility to a large extent for little money, especially in metropolitan areas, and to make cities more livable again.

A good friend

Cityflitzer Citroën Ami. (Photo: Citroën)

The latest move in that direction comes from Citroen and is called Ami. Named after a successful model from the 1960s, the French are presenting a kind of shoe box on wheels with a plastic body that is just 2.41 meters long and 1.39 meters wide. This means that it takes up even less traffic area than a Smart and is even more manageable with a turning circle of 7.2 meters.

Picture gallery: The Citroën Ami

(Photo: Citroën)

© Citroën
(Photo: Citroën)

The Ami is powered by an electric motor that enables a speed of 45 kilometers per hour, so that the car can also be driven by 16-year-olds with the appropriate driver’s license. With the electricity from a 5.5 kilowatt-hour battery, it should travel up to 70 kilometers. Then the small car, which weighs less than 500 kilograms, has to be plugged into the household socket for three hours.

Citroen has not yet announced prices for Germany, but press spokesman Christopher Rux recommends taking a look at France as an orientation: There the American starts at 6,000 euros and in the best case can be leased for 20 euros a month.

Return of the kissing ball

Microlino 2.0, planned for 2021. (Image: Micro Mobility)

Just as Citroen throws plenty of charm into the race for clean drive and advertises with an old name, two manufacturers from the second row are also hoping for the big business with small cars with a trick in the moth box of mobility. You will be inspired by the legendary Isetta.

Microlino from Switzerland and the supplier Artega from Delbrück both have one New interpretation of the kissing ball presented and announced the sale for this year. Both of them have been around the trade fairs with such a similar design that not only the developers but also the lawyers had to work overtime. But after legal proceedings and a few design retouches, both are actually allowed to bring their car onto the market.

Microlino 2.0, planned for 2021.

© Micro Mobility
Microlino 2.0, planned for 2021.

Even if the Artega Karo and the Microlino no longer look very similar, the idea is identical: an extremely short and handy car with two seats, the only door of which opens to the front like a refrigerator.

And the two cars are also technically close: For 12,000 euros or more, the Microlino offers an eleven kilowatt motor for a maximum of 90 kilometers per hour and two battery sizes for a range of 125 or 200 kilometers. Artega also promises a top speed of 90 kilometers per hour and identical ranges for just under 14,000 euros.

Limit to mobility aid

Renault Twizy. (Photo: Renault)

However, such vehicles are not entirely new on the border between mobility aid and cars. And some of them have had astonishing presence on the road. It is not for nothing that one sees the idiosyncratic Renault Twizy with its narrow track and its free-standing wheels, at least in the metropolises.

Renault celebrates 30,000 Twizys in eight years as a respectable success, but with conventional small cars like the Twingo, the French reach such numbers in a few months.

Management consultant Andreas Radics trusts electric Isetta reinterpretations, like the Fiat 500 or the Mini once, to reach lifestyle buyers via the emotional design and to be included in the pools of sharing or mobility services. “But such vehicles can hardly help electromobility achieve a breakthrough,” says Radics from Berylls Strategy Advisors.

In addition, they lack usability, says Radics: “Range, speed and space cannot compete with conventional cars. That is why they are only suitable for everyday use to a limited extent. ”With this they filled a niche, but remained just a marginal phenomenon in the mobility transition. And there is something else that the little ones often lack: “In addition to the product, sales, service and aftermarket offerings also have to be right and we mostly don’t see that with the newcomers.”

Niche product for individualists?

Stefan Möller from the e-car rental company Nextmove is also rather skeptical: “As niche products for individualists, the little ones will surely find fans. But we don’t believe in a short-term breakthrough. ”This is not least due to the manufacturers and politicians:“ No large German manufacturer has suitable vehicles on offer, so there is no support from Berlin. ”

That is reflected in the wallet, says Möller. The environmental bonus is only granted to “real” cars, micro vehicles such as Twizy and Co. are excluded from the 6,000 euros subsidy, so that the price difference to a Smart or a VW E-Up suddenly becomes very small.

The start-up ego had to learn from the University of Aachen how big the hurdles are for a small electric car. Because so many advance praise whose small car Life has earned because it looks cute and because despite 41 kilowatts or 57 kilowatts and a maximum of 120 kilometers per hour or 130 kilometers per hour, it actually offers something like driving fun.

The Life can obviously not be produced economically and can be sold in sufficient numbers at prices from 22,701 euros with a range of 140 kilometers at best. The makers don’t want to give up – but for now Ego has filed for bankruptcy. dpa

For further reading:

Ioniq: Hyundai announces new electric car brand

Eli Zero: E-Cityflitzer comes to Germany

Because of the corona crisis: Kia is planning a subscription model of a mini electric car

Video: BMW “Power of Choice” – an effective approach to global sustainability (AutoMotoTV)


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