Small, economical cars have satisfied a niche of the auto market for decades.
The guys pictured are pushing a BMW Isetta, one of the first ever produced. It premiered in 1955, but only lasted a couple years. After making around 160,000 units, BMW ceased production of the original and started coming out with new and improved versions, which it continued to do until the early 1960s when the Isetta was retired for good.
Or so we thought! Word has it that BMW may unveil a new version next year to compete with Smart and other companies. Until it does, here’s a list of the smallest, cutest little buggers that are already street legal and turning heads.
It may not look like it, but the Ford Ka's body has a smaller length, width and height than a BMW Mini Cooper. Who would have though the Mini wouldn't even make it into the top 10?
The first Ka premiered in 1996, and was considered to be a modern day Volkswagen Beetle. They're still going strong in the United Kingdom, despite Europe's increasingly stringent emissions and safety legislation. Last month, Ford's CEO Alan Mulally stated that the company would not be taking the Ka to the U.S., as he didn't think American buyers would accept a Ford model smaller than the Fiesta.
The BlueCar is an electric vehicle from France that offers an operating range of 155 miles and a top speed of 84 mph. A full recharge requires 6 hours, while a two-hour rapid charge will recover 50% capacity. Only available in France.
Photo via lorentey
Norwegian car maker Think is gunning to launch the all-electric City model in the U.S. by next year. A 2009 release was planned, but the company was forced to halt production last year during a period of financial distress.
The Daihatsu Copen is a Japanese two-seater that has been around since 2001, but is only available in Europe and Japan.
The Smart Fortwo was originally called the Smart City Coupe when it debuted in 1998. 10 years later, the all-electric version concept car the Fortwo Ed was announced. The Fortwo is available in the U.S.
Rick Woodbury founded Commuter Cars in 1998 with his son and $50,000 he made after selling their 35' sailboat. The Tango has two electric motors, one for each rear wheel, that allow it to go from zero to 60 in less than four seconds. They sell for $121,000 each. George Clooney was the first customer, and Google co-founder Sergey Brin is an investor and purchased three Tangos.
Last but not least (except in size), is the ElBil Norge Buddy Cab, a Norwegian electric car. It is the sixth generation of a model called the Kewet, developed for the first time in 1991. During the first five generations over 1000 electric vehicles were produced and sold in eighteen countries. In 1998 all rights were acquired by ElBil Norge AS. Strange that the Buddy Cab comes from Norway, considering Scandinavians are known for being tall.
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