Many Canadians comment on how small cars like the Smart Fortwo and Scion iQ are, but the truth is they considered spacious when you compare them to the “microcars” available in other markets around the world. Could they be the solution to gridlock?
Jeremy Clarkson P45
Honda Micro Commuter
Myers Motors NmG
Nissan New Mobility CONCEPT
With its gullwing doors and spaced-out freestanding wheels, this single-seater VW is a real looker. Made with an aluminum body, it is powered by a 15-kilowatt electric motor that will propel the NILS from 0-100 kmh in 11 seconds. The concept car debuted at the Frankfurt International Motor Show in 2011.
The Toyota P(ersonal)COM is a short-range electric car designed for making quick trips around town. With a maximum speed of 60 kmh, it weighs only 410 kilograms and has can travel approximately 50 kilometres on a full charge.
Originally manufactured by the Peel Engineering Company in the 1960s, this miniscule city car had only one door on the driver’s side and no reverse gear. Another English company has since started producing gas and electric-powered replicas with a top speed of 45 kmh.
The inimitable Jeremy Clarkson first introduced the world to his hilarious creation in series 19 of Top Gear on episode one. In attempt to produce a vehicle smaller than the Peel P50, he invented the P45, based on a quad bike, which leaves the driver’s arms exposed to the elements and features an oversized helmet for a windshield.
The current version of the Honda Micro Commuter weighs a little less than the PCOM (400 kg) and can travel almost double the range, up to 96.5 kilometres per charge. The battery and motor components are hidden under the rear floor and an adaptable seating system can fit an adult in the front and two children in the back.
Made in Germany by Citycom GmbH, the CityEl is yet another lightweight three-wheel electric vehicle for one. The CityEl has no doors — drivers get in by opening the entire top half like a hinged lid. A range of different battery options is available and the standard model weighs a scant 280 kilograms.
Formerly known as the Corbin Sparrow, the NmG—an acronym for No More Gas— is a personal electric vehicle made by Ohio-based Myers Motors. With two wheels in the front and one in the back, the quirky-looking NmG came in one and two-door flvarous with a kilowatt electric motor and a maximum range of 64 kilometres.
Announced in 2010, the New Mobility CONCEPT, also known as the Renault Twizy in Europe, is a two-seater EV that Nissan says has the “manoeuvrability equivalent to motorbikes with greater safety.” The company has been studying its efficiency as a private and corporate car-sharing vehicle.
Made by Indian manufacturer REVA, the REVAi is a small electric car that is sold as the G-Wiz in the UK. Although only 102.4 inches long, 51.2 inches wide and 59.1 inches high, the REVAi can accommodate two adults and two children. A 13-kilowatt electric motor provides 17 horsepower, and nominal range is 80 kilometres.
The Italian-made Zagato Volpe is a direct challenger to Renault’s Twizy and comes in a both a fully electric version with 5.5 horsepower as well as a hybrid with 16.3 horsepower. The Volpe measures in at only 86.6 inches long and 39.4 inches wide.