If someone mentions the Isetta in a conversation, one fictional character almost always comes up: Steve Urkel. In some ways, the Isetta is kind of like Steve. At the beginning of the series, Steve isn’t even there. In the first season, he shows up for a few seconds in one episode, and was supposed to be a one-time character later in the season. But, he proved so popular with fans of the show, that they had to make him a main character. Today, some members of the cast still resent the show’s management and Jaleel White (the actor who played Urkel) for upstaging them and changing what the show was originally supposed to be about.
BMW kind of had the same thing happen with the Isetta. While it was a successful car, and did great globally, the American consumer tended to make fun of it. Smaller cars have often been derided as “clown cars,” and if you buy one, people will ask you questions like, “Where’s the other one?” — the implication being that they’re too small, and you must be using it like a roller skate (and thus need one for your other foot).
So, given the lack of American appreciation for “bubble cars,” even if they’re very efficient, they made for the perfect car for TV’s ultimate nerd. But, you won’t find BMW bragging about it today, and the cool people who drive their cars aren’t going to proudly talk about the Isetta. But, the company did make the i3, so they apparently didn’t learn much.
But, seriously, “bubble cars” were more popular globally than they were in the United States. For one, the rest of the world wasn’t obsessed with huge vehicles, and didn’t have as much of their masculinity tied up in their choice of car. Having a cute and/or small car has generally been more socially acceptable outside of North America. Fuel tends to be more expensive in places like Europe than the US, which leads to smaller cars not only being OK, but being a necessity.
With the EV transition, it’s more and more true that efficiency matters. Having a smaller car that slopes to the rear tends to allow for much longer ranges, and the Isetta design has that advantage.
Details on the Evetta website are a little sparse unless you dig a bit, but apparently we’re going to see the Isetta return.
Yes, that’s right.
The company plans on offering an electric bubble car, and it’s even going to come with a front door and ride on three wheels, like the original. But, instead of a single-cylinder gasoline engine, the car will have a 14 kWh battery pack (18 kWh for the convertible) driving an electric motor. It will also have all of the modern conveniences you’d expect from a car, including heating and air conditioning, an infotainment system, backup camera, etc.
They seem to know that the car is going to get attention, and they’re counting on it. So, they’re offering branded accessories for people who are proud of such an offbeat car:
- Wallbox with the EVETTA design
- Charging cord type 2 with the EVETTA design
- Luggage set with the EVETTA design
- Picnic set with the EVETTA design
- Chrome rear luggage carrier
- Vehicle care set with the EVETTA design
- Leather charging cord pouch with the EVETTA design
- Premium floor mats
- Leather luggage fastening strap
- Luggage net
- Car cover with the EVETTA design
- Flower vase for dashboard
Sadly, that’s all of the information that’s available for now. Evetta hasn’t provided details like what wheels will be driven, how much power/torque they’ll deliver, or any of that. But, there is some video floating around the internet:
Featured image: a screenshot from the Evetta website showing the vehicle.
Don't want to miss a cleantech story? Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.