In the years that followed World War II, Europe, Japan, Russia, and even China and Korea (which I’m including specifically because most Americans have no idea what happened there) were busy rebuilding their war-torn cities. With limited resources and even more limited monies available, many companies began producing small, efficient vehicles to get people around. Some, like Vespa, were a wild success. Others, like Messerschmitt, were not. Now, some sixty years later, resources are tight, money is tight, and at least one Messerschmitt is getting a new lease on life.
Before we get too far, those of you unfamiliar with the Messerschmitt microcar should take a look at this ad for the thing, circa 1995-ish …
… which promised “limousine comfort” from the tandem-passenger, 200 cc Messerschmitt. Now, that may seem like an exaggeration, but compared to cars like the Peel 50 and BMW Isetta? Kinda almost maybe seems like it might be possibly legit, you know?
This new Messerschmitt, however, does away with the “classic” internal-combustion engine in favor of a human-powered pedal system that works in concert with an 250-watt unit powered by a 36 volt 10Ah lithium-iron-phosphate (LiFePO4) battery pack. Veloschmitt designers claim the setup is good for speeds of around 20 MPH, and also mention the possibility of adding larger motors up to 1,500 watts to go even faster.
Plans are in place to produce some 200 of these re-born “Veloschmitt” Messerschmitt microcars with a price tag of about $7200 – which seems pretty high compared to the India-only Tata Nano or the maybe-they-will / maybe-they-won’t Elio trike, but pretty reasonable compared to the folding Secede folder and top-shelf tri bikes.
Veloschmitt Human Powered Hybrid
Source | More Photos: Gizmag.