The Microlino is an urban mobility vehicle that originated from the Micro brand, which was founded in 1999. The concept for the Microlino was conceived by the sons of the Micro founders, Merlin and Oliver, who envisioned a cabin scooter combining elements of a Vespa scooter and a Tesla Model S, with design inspiration from BMW’s Isetta. Although Micro attempted to involve BMW in the project, the design of the Microlino remains close to the Isetta, with some minor modifications.
Initially intended as a PR concept, the overwhelming response to the Microlino at the Geneva Motor Show in 2016 prompted Micro to proceed with its production. Micro partnered with Cecomp in Turin for production, enabling them to manufacture 4,000 Microlino units per year. Notably, the Microlino is produced in Europe, specifically Switzerland and Italy, rather than in China.
The Microlino is available for online ordering, and Micro is establishing a network of maintenance and handover partners. The initial Pioneer Edition of the Microlino is limited to 999 units and features a mid-sized battery among the three available options. The entry-level Dolce version comes with a smaller battery, providing a range of 91 km. The mid-sized version offers a range of 177 km, while the largest battery extends the range to 230 km. The lightweight design of the Microlino, weighing around 450 kilograms without the battery, allows for these impressive ranges. It meets the requirements for approval as an L7e vehicle, which means it can be driven with a regular driver’s license and has a maximum speed of 90 km/h.
Unlike other light vehicles with a tubular frame covered by body parts, the Microlino features a self-supporting steel and aluminum body, providing greater stability, durability, and safety.
Inside the Microlino, there is a two-seater bench that can be adjusted lengthwise, a small digital display for instrumentation, a touchscreen strip for operating various features, and a phone holder with a Bluetooth speaker for entertainment. Despite its compact size, Microlino’s cabin offers adequate features and functionality.
To start the Microlino, one needs to turn the key, and the displays come to life. The direction of travel is set using a small rotary wheel, and acceleration is achieved by pressing the accelerator pedal. The Microlino offers swift acceleration, supported by an electric motor generating 89 Nm of torque. The vehicle emits a resonating background noise reminiscent of a washing machine. Sport mode is available for a brief burst of increased acceleration and sound power. The Microlino performs exceptionally well in city traffic, easily maneuvering through rush hour and maintaining pace with buses and trucks. However, it may struggle on steep inclines or when encountering heavy trucks on the autobahn.
Microlino’s design focuses on urban mobility, excelling in city environments. Its narrow width of 1.47 meters allows for easy parking across the street without protruding onto the road. Additionally, with a length of only 2.52 meters, the Microlino does not obstruct the sidewalk when parked facing forward. These characteristics make it highly suitable for urban driving.
Charging the Microlino can be done using a 230-volt household socket, with a maximum charging rate of 2.6 kWh. The vehicle also recovers energy while cornering, contributing to its overall efficiency. With a full charge, the Microlino can achieve a range of 91 km to 230 km, depending on the battery size. The suspension of the Microlino is firm, considering its low weight, short wheelbase, and absence of electronic stability control (ESP). Despite the slightly indirect steering, the handling remains enjoyable, aided by the lack of power steering.
Overall, the Microlino is a well-crafted urban vehicle with a modern design, attention to detail, and a focus on minimal size, performance, and effort. It may be relatively expensive for some, but for those enthusiastic about its unique concept or seeking a comparable alternative, the Microlino provides a satisfying experience within its microcosm of urban mobility.