The battery-electric Microlino microcar — technically a quadricycle for legal classification purposes — is finally a thing. Six years after a debut at the Geneva Motor Show, a lawsuit over a copycat maker, a complete redesign, and the transport industry thrown into years of turmoil, the Microlino 2.0 Pioneer Series has entered production at a dedicated facility in Turin and will begin reaching customers in Switzerland later this summer. This individually numbered series of 999 cars comes in two exclusive colors, either Atlantis Blue with white wheels (pictured) or Torino Aluminum Matte with black wheels. The most expensive trim in the range for now at 20,999 Swiss Francs ($20,938 U.S.), it fits a midsized battery and is loaded with options like infinity light bars front and back, a sunroof, heated front and rear glass, and extra storage inside among the cross-stitched Dinamica and vegan leather interior. There's also another exclusive, a Micro kick scooter integrated into the cargo area.
Below the Pioneer comes the Competitzione for 18,590 CHF ($18,536 U.S.), the Dolce for 16,390 CHF ($16,343 U.S.), and the entry-level Urban for 14,990 CHF ($14,947 U.S.). Prices have risen some, unsurprisingly, but the quadricycle comes in well under a mainstream option like the Volkswagen e-Up for those focused on price and just getting around the city. For a glimpse into the issues getting this to market and faced by the industry in general, despite Micro sourcing 90% of the Microlino's components in Europe, the company said, "Now, even commodity parts like simple connectors for the wiring harness have become scarce and have lead times of up to 50 weeks."
All trims are powered by a rear-mounted e-motor with a continuous 17 horsepower and peak 25 hp, working with 87 pound-feet of torque. Top speed is 56 miles per hour, while getting from standstill to about 31 miles per hour takes 5 seconds. The company said before that any trim can be purchased with one of three battery packs, but the configurator shows the Urban only available with the smallest battery for now, the Competizione and Dolce optionable with all three packs. The smallest 10.5-kWh pack is good for a 59-mile range, the middle 10.5-kWh can go 109 miles, the top 14-kWh pack gets 143 miles on a charge. Charging to 80% capacity takes four hours for two smaller units and three hours for largest unit when plugged into standard European 220V household socket.
For now, the production target after getting ramped up is 10,000 units per year. Claiming the Turin plant will be able to produce a car every 20 minutes, that would mean two shifts running five days per week to make the target, and we could see a third shift being added considering the company says it has 30,000 reservations. Assembly lines will work at a sedate pace of 1,500 units per year to start, co-founder Oliver Ouboter saying, "The demand that we see is huge, and we are considering increasing our capacity even further in the future. For this year, we focus on quality, not quantity."
Shoppers in Switzerland can reserve a model with a 500 CHF deposit. Those in other Western European countries can configure a vehicle and reserve without making the deposit. Once Micro expands deliveries outside Switzerland, hand-raisers will be given the option to place a down payment to confirm their choice. The next markets are planned to be Germany and Italy, with the remainder of the EU opening up in 2023.
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