Reader Question: Microlino?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Mark ask: I don’t know if this EV will ever be available here, but it’s one I’d consider buying. It harks back to the old BMW Isetta and other bubble cars of the 1950s; in fact, that was the Microlino’s inspiration. It hits the price and performance equation quite well for me, and I’m not in a major city. Other than for long trips out of town, this car would suit me quite well. Perhaps you’d like to do an article on it? You can see more here:

My reply: This one’s cheaper than a Tesla – but it has the same fundamental problems – plus some additional ones.

The base price – about $13k –  is still much too high for it to make economic sense. This is about twice what it would cost you to get a mechanically sound used car – and about what you’d spend on a new economy compact car like a Hyundai Accent.

But this car can only travel about 70 miles on a charge – as opposed to several hundred miles for say a used Corolla or Civic that cost half as much (or a new Accent, which costs about the same) and which can also carry four people – rather than just two – and travel on the highway, at speeds of 70-plus MPH, something this car can’t (its maximum speed of 50 MPH makes this unrealistic).

So it is a limiting car that’s also an expensive one.

Yes, it’s serviceable for short hops in an urban setting and – unlike a scooter – can keep you and a passenger dry if it rains. But it still costs  as much as a real car – yet can’t offer the mobility (freedom) that a real car offers.

I could see this thing as a step up from a scooter – if it cost say twice what it costs to buy a scooter. Say around $2,500-$3,000 or so – at which price point the limitations are more acceptable because for that sum it’s hard to find a used car that isn’t a worn-out piece of crap.

But so long as EVs cost more than non-EVs while not being as flexible and practical they make as much sense to me as healthy people walking around with surgical masks on!

. . .

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  1. Eric,

    The Microlino has four wheels, so it’s legally a car. That means it would be subject to all of Uncle’s “saaaaafety” fatwas. I don’t see how it would meet Uncle’s fatwas. IOW, the feds wouldn’t allow the Microlino in the country, which means it won’t see US shores. Ergo, the point of buying one is moot.

    I’d only consider a Microlino with the 200km battery; that’s 124 miles of range, which, 95% of the time, would be more than enough for me. That would cost extra, of course. I imagine the long range battery would bring the price to $14-$15k, which puts the Microlino in striking distance of a NEW car! Granted, you’re not getting much of a new car for $15K, but you could get one. You could get a Nissan Versa or Mitsubishi Mirage for that. The Versa or Mirage would come nicely equipped for that to. $15K would also get you a nice used car; a late model Mazda 3, Ford Focus, or Toyota Corolla could be picked up for $15K. Those are PRE Corona prices though. Who knows what $15K will buy in the Post Corona world? That’s assuming one has money in such a world…

    The only other car the Microlino is comparable to is the Elio, which we’ll likely never see. That’s a pity, because the Elio’s price would be $7.5K-$8K. It would offer decent performance, great fuel economy, and can be refueled in 5 minutes. Unfortunately, I don’t see the Elio ever making it to market…

  2. I can see this if someone lives in a dense urban enclave and doesn’t want to get in the elements. But, as you’ve pointed out so many times, it’s Virtue Signalling at it’s finest. Did you scroll down the website? The last panel before they ask you to reserve one says, “Because I Care” “Clean”. Makes me wanna puke.

    • Hi Mark,

      It does not compute… to me! For less than $5k one can buy a perfectly serviceable used economy car without the crippling limitations of this car. Some will say: Well, I live in a dense urban enclave and my trips are all within 20 or so miles and I don’t need to go on the highway. But what if you find you need to, some day? Now you need another car – or to rent/borrow a car. More expense/hassle.

      PS: One can buy a brand-new Hyundai Accent for the cost of this thing – and for just a little bit more, one could get into a Corolla or Civic – cars that can go 400-plus miles on a 5 minute fill-up and be driven for hours at 80-plus MPH on the highway.

      EVs are just an other metric of the sickness – the mental sickness – permeating this culture.

      • I agree Eric, I only said I understood it, not that I agree. The small dimensions would be a plus but, as you say, the limitations still make it economically and functionally impractical.


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