You don’t exactly have to be an Ivy-league historian to know that post World War II Europe was left in pretty bad shape. Europe’s economy and industry needed time to recuperate, but people still needed a cheap, reliable way of getting around. Enter the Isetta.
Originally, the Isetta was manufactured in the early 1950s by Italian firm Iso SpA, but later BMW negotiated the licensing agreement and body tooling for the diminutive car as well. It is the BMW’s Isetta that serves as the inspiration for Vienna’s University of Applied Arts graduate Tony Weichselbraun.
As you can see, Weichselbraun’s imagineering of what a modern eSetta — the “e” is to signify the cars electric motor rather than the original’s gasoline-powered motorcycle engine — would look like is rather interesting to say the least. According to Tony, the design of the car was meant to be “highly recognizable and friendly.” And it shows. The car definitely has a “cartoony” vibe to it. In fact, looking at the BMW eSetta for the first time we can’t help but be reminded of those comical Chevron claymation commercials, or even the loveable animated autos from Disney Pixar’s Cars. Our only real gripe with the design; no iconic BMW kidney grille — c’mon Tony!
Given the car’s tiny stature, the eSetta would need to keep to the city streets rather than venture out too far. That’s okay, because the conceptual modern-day homage was intended to be part of a larger EV sharing system that could be swapped in and out, and inductively charged at hubs throughout the city.
With today’s gas prices sitting at – or just under – $4.00 a gallon, small electric-powered city cars are definitely on the rise. Renault has its annoyingly-named, but disgustingly cute, Twizy and a battery-powered Smart ForTwo is expected to roll out sometime this year. Unfortunately, for now, the eSetta is merely a concept. But who knows, with BMW now producing it’s “i” range of electric cars, we could very well see an Isetta make a real comeback someday soon.