Famed Isetta bubble car ‘reborn’ as … a Chinese electric car?

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A number of Chinese automakers have come under fire over the years for copying the designs of the latest foreign cars. The early efforts have ranged from ghastly to boring, and the latest design replication efforts haven’t been very subtle. What’s changed is the speed of industrial copying, prompting some Western automakers to make different decisions about previewing close production examples at major auto shows, fearing a very quick facsimile by the time their own original car goes on sale.

But a recent electric car that debuted in China has opted not to copy a recent design at all. The blandly named Eagle EG6330K takes its inspiration from the BMW 600 offshoot of the Italian Isetta, CarNewsChina reports.

The EG6330K is a four-wheeled, four-door bubble car powered by a 5-hp electric motor getting juice from a 72kWh lead-acid battery, boasting a range of 87 miles on a full charge. Its meager power output means top speed is just 37 mph, making it slower than the original Isetta (or five horses strung together stagecoach-style), but then again such a design probably isn’t safe at highway speeds anyhow.


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Why doesn’t BMW make something like this? For one thing, crash safety standards are just not compatible with a hoodless layout for something that can be licensed for the road. This would relegate a modern BMW 600 to the ranks of low-speed vehicles, which would diminish its commercial appeal. Then there is also the issue of vehicle size: EVs with any kind of respectable range need room for a battery. The lead-acid battery choice in the Eagle is perhaps a cost-saving measure, since this EV is expected to retail for the equivalent of $5,000.

We have to admit that with a little more speed and range, this would actually make for a pretty cool toy for some kind of wealthy island, like Martha’s Vineyard, where golf carts are a common tool for fetching tropical-flavored wine coolers from the seaside store.


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Jay Ramey


Jay Ramey

– Jay Ramey is an Associate Editor with Autoweek, and has been with the magazine since 2013. Jay also likes to kayak and bike.

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