I spoke to one of Microlino's two co-founders, Oliver Ouboter. Safety is in the Microlino's vehicle class a big topic. But it will also be an issue for the next smart fortwo. Because it's getting harder and harder to build a microcar, since the legislature is practically working against microcars and effectively prohibits them.
Doesn't it look like a BMW Isetta?
Of course, the Microlino cannot hide its visual relationship to the Isetta. Even if it has nothing to do with her technically and historically, it was clearly the inspiration for this little bubble car. Nevertheless, I would like to compare it with the smart fortwo, a quad motorcycle and the Twizy. We used to have a Twizy ourselves, so I was all the more grateful to Christian (@microlino_on_tour) that I was able to drive and experience his Microlino. The longer I talked to him and thought about it afterwards, the more I saw the parallels with the smart fortwo.
It's the same as it used to be and is still the case today with the smart: You automatically in conversations with this little car and as soon as you sit in it you notice how much space there is in the interior. From the outside it looks small, but I with my 1.9 m and also with Christian with his 2 meters we have more than enough space in all directions. In my case, the movable seat is not yet all the way back to the stop.
And in fact, Christian used to drive smart before he switched to the Microlino. By the way, his is the limited Pioneer series and his has the number 77 of 999.
How does this small car drive?
From the first meter I noticed that it drove exactly as I had expected. Hard chassis, like the Twizy too. Harder than an old smart from the 90s. The reduction gear is a tick quieter than that of the Twizy. But it's still relatively loud if you're used to other electric cars, so the Microlino has a real Formula E feel to it. Personally, I would try to make the transmission quieter with a little insulation. Later in the day we also drove the Pioneer series 1 from 999. The main thing we noticed was that the workmanship and handling had improved noticeably in these first 77 vehicles. So it may also be that newer vehicles have already become quieter.
You quickly notice that you don't have power steering. Which is not missing with a weight of just 490 kg. The turning circle is as small as that of a modern fortwo. The all-round view in the little smooch ball is also great. With the colorful Microlino you also attract attention, of course, and so it can happen that people look after you or even wave with a smile.
Nevertheless, one has to say very clearly here that the Microlino is not a car. It is a quad in terms of registration and is limited to 90 km/h and a peak power of 12.5 kW (17 hp). It sprints from 0 - 50 km/h in 5 seconds, but it's slowly running out of breath over that. This is where the humorous and quite effective sport mode helps. When the battery is warm, it responds a little better.
You notice the attention to detail throughout the vehicle and even in the software. Especially the rocket from Nintendo's MarioCart is super funny for the sport mode.
Not a dream of the future, the Microlino has been delivered for months
In fact, many are surprised when told that the Microlino is on sale and that you can actually have it. It starts at CHF 14,990 and you get the smallest battery (6 kWh) with a nominal range of 95 km. We drove a Pioneer series, this has 10.5 kWh and turns this into a nominal 175 km. The large battery has 14 kWh and is supposed to cover 230 km. Christian reported that he can still manage the 100 km in winter. That's on par with the electric fortwo.
You can choose between many bright, but also more muted colors. You can also get a speaker and a nice cell phone holder. There are also extras such as different fabrics or leather for the interior, such as charging cables and even an e-scooter for the trunk. The motor power is the same for all variants and the charging power of 1.35 kW (basic) and 2.6 kW (surcharge) is unspectacular, but perfectly adequate for everyday use and for this battery size. Although I personally would be happy about 10-15 kW CCS, just to have the option to charge quickly.
It couldn't be more comfortable and practical in this vehicle class
Only in its cargo variant you can transport 2 boxes of sparkling water with the twizy and with a quad motorbike you can completely forget about the sparkling water. In the Microlino you can easily accommodate them and also have them in the warm and dry interior. In addition, the Microlino is completely closed, so that you not only stay dry in wind and weather, but also have heating. Of course there are also seat belts and the door opens electrically.
The Microlino speaker, which is available for a fee, is not particularly breathtaking. But you can also easily clamp your own Bluetooth box in the cup holder. There are also more than enough USB ports distributed throughout the car to supply them with permanent power. In addition, the Microlino has a nice speedometer, something not even a mid-range Tesla offers. And of course you don't have to wear a helmet in the Microlino.
There is also a small display on the front door. It is used to control other vehicle settings and, for example, the heating. If it gets too warm, you can also open the sunroof and let the wind blow through your hair. Personally, it reminds me a bit of the Fiat 500e Cabrio, even if the sunroof doesn't open electrically.
It's really remarkable how much space you have inside. You really don't have to cuddle. However, since the seat does not offer any lateral support, it can sometimes happen that you slide together in fast corners.
I think the Microlino is great and would love to have one. Unfortunately, its price is not overpriced, but it is outside my price range for such a vehicle. And I'm afraid it's the same for many others. The Microlino is a fun mobile, popular and extremely comfortable quad, but not a rational decision. I like him very much.
You have to keep in mind that you are driving a quad here and you have to compare it accordingly. The Microlino is an extremely luxurious quad. It has heating, you don't need a helmet, it's dry and you have a nice trunk. There is also space for two and you can talk to each other while driving. Perfect for getting around town and getting to a destination a few towns away.
In addition, it is already the 2nd generation of the Microlino. With a body that has been optimized from the ground up, which puts many other young car manufacturers in the shade.
Of course, for many, safety in this vehicle is also a big issue. To address that, I spoke to one of the founders of Microlino and wrote a whole post on its own. Because the subject of safety is a complex one and was of course also the focus of the Microlino.
This will also be the biggest hurdle for the next smart fortwo.
But one thing is clear: One day I will have a Microlino. It is a wonderful addition to the smart #1.
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