By on February 5, 2018

A Chinese car brand with the same name as a defunct American brand is building the spiritual successor to a famous BMW model that wasn’t really a BMW.

Eagle, a brand of China’s Suzhou Eagle, has begun production of the EG6330K — a model whose name rolls off the tongue like Thunderbird. If the diminutive little car looks familiar, it should.

According to Car News China (via Motor Authority), the Eagle EG6330K is a cheap, low-speed electric vehicle (LSEV) modeled after another cheap vehicle: the BMW Isetta, one of many near-identical postwar “bubble cars” built under license in Europe and Latin America, all based on a 1953 design by Italy’s Iso.

Actually, the four-door Eagle pictured above copies the design cues of the longer BMW 600, an Isetta-derived model built from 1957 to 1959. In this case, the Chinese vehicle adds four real doors, rather than the front-opening door and single side opening of the 600. Also gone is the Bimmer’s 582cc flat-twin engine. Instead, the EG6330K relies on a 72 kWh lead-acid battery fueling a brawny 5.3 horsepower electric motor.

Top speed of this little rig is about 37 miles per hour, and drivers can leisurely cruise for 75 miles before hauling out the extension cord.

Unlike in the U.S., where low-speed electric vehicles are the domain of golf courses, theme parks, retirement communities, and various outdoorsy municipal departments, China’s low-speed electric vehicle market is a boon for lower-income residents seeking affordable personal transportation. The market is also no stranger to direct knock-offs of existing or pre-existing models. If you walk around the back of this car, you’ll see fake cooling vents for the non-existent rear-mounted engine. (The electric motor and drive wheels are in the front.)

As far as Chinese copies go, this one impresses, if only for its level of cuteness. And no, you certainly can’t have one in America.

[Image: Suzhou Eagle Electric Vehicle Manufacturing Co.]

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28 Comments on “The Original Microcar Is Reborn in China...”


  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Put the engine from an Eagle Talon in that thing and you’re on to something.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    In developing nations with large urban centres, this could very well be the best way to ‘motorize’ their citizens.

    Better than cramming the family onto a scooter or bike or on top of a jitney, or running a 10+ year old diesel vehicle.
    Electrical infrastructure already exists.
    Would reduce air pollution.
    Could reduce noise pollution.

    Seems like a win-win.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Arthur,
      I have to agree with you.

      For those who haven’t been to Asia, many Asian inner city areas are space challenged and this will give mobility to millions.

      I remember when I went to SE Asia a lot, we used to hire “plastics” as we called them, step throughs with engines from 50cc to 125cc. They were great for movinng around. Rarely did you ever go above 50kph (30mph).

      Personal transport is the strongest influence in freedom.

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    The local Chevrolet dealer, in 1958 or so, gave away a new Isetta with the purchase of a new Impala. The folks across the street kept their Impala but sold off the Isetta fairly quickly.

  • avatar
    RHD

    They copied the car and the advertising.
    “Hey, Kool-aid!”

  • avatar
    Asdf

    This vehicle is probably equipped with the same kind of crash safety that Chinese cars are world-renowned for.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Asdf,
      Yup, another highly intelligent and considered comment. Did you ever stop to think the environment in which these vehicles will operate?

      So, what’s the level of safety on a lawn tractor. These vehicles will operate in an environment that crawls. To use that 75 miles of charge will take 4 hours, at least.

      You got to put your arguments in context of what is reality, not some Trump’esque distorted over reach or under reach.

      So, you are that superior to all else? Not!

    • 0 avatar
      Sub-600

      Cutting-edge Chinese safety technology. These things are clown car death traps. They’ll probably export them to Australia and Mexico.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Sub,
        You have a really poor attitude and understanding of the world.

        So, because you are a burger flipper or whatever in the US and can afford a 15 year old Corolla doesn’t mean the rest of the world is in the same position.

        Believe it or not the world is not like Australia or the US were we consider it normal to drive around in twenty and sixty thousand dollar cars.

        They must start from somewhere, like our nations did. So from your scribes it appears you consider your ancestors inadequate morons because they had a Model T or horse. There were better cars back then.

        Look at this constructively. The money you get as a burger flipper is huge compared to a person doing the same job as you in many other nations. So, you might be overpaid, then maybe you can buy one of these.

        • 0 avatar
          TonyJZX

          LOL Australia. Proud owner of two or three of the most expensive cities in the world, the most expensive real estate and highest wages and… some of the most draconian car import rules even though no cars are made there.

          While I look derisively at these curio cars the fact is that any kind of EV is usually a step in the right direction.

          China has access to a LOT of very cheap subcompact gasoline cars so I dont see the need for the above since for about the same you could get a Mazda 2 copy that would do fine but even if the above car doesnt sell that well then at least they learnt something for round two.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Tony,
            Your comment is akin to stating that it is more expensive in the US than Mexico. Doh! So, Mexico is better than the US.

            First we will address the free economies and this should dispell any myths or misguided paradigms you have regarding the world.

            https://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/1212/the-5-most-economically-free-countries-in-the-world.aspx

            Have a look at the countries with the freest economies, they also have the highest standards of living.

            What “draconian car import rules do we have”?

            The US and Australia are different countries with different standards of living. Close, but still different in the make up and distribution of wealth. We overall pay identical taxation as the US.

            Here’s an interesting article on where the world HNWIs are moving, this plays a role in real estate prices. Sydney and Melbourne are the two that are mostly affected.

            http://www.businessinsider.com/high-net-worth-people-moving-to-australia-2018-1/?r=AU&IR=T

            I bought a new 30sq home in Brisbane a couple of years ago for AUD $360k, or around USD $240k. I do consider this extremely affordable, as I have enough left over to go off roading, travel overseas two or three times a year.

            As for cars, why do you want to produce cars and have them subsidised by the tax payer or huge tariffs on imports? All this does is cost the ordinary Joe money. Car manufacturing is not the end all, be all in a country. Anyone who considers auto manufacturing as a measure of economic success is obviously a teenager or lacking education (Trump voter). Don’t get me wrong manufacturing is great, it’s just how much does the public need to subsidise and protect an industry that obviously will struggle without these handouts and protection.

            So, we now design cars, and the US is buying them as is most of the world.

            So, why not be the architect, rather than the builders labourer? They earn more.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    My grandfather, may he RIP, had a BMW Isetta.

    Along with a Packard Limo, from a funeral home. And a retired “Book Mobile” that he bought from the library. Yeah he wasn’t a rich man but he sure was interesting.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    If it makes sense to walk, bicycle, use skateboards, ride scooters and motorbikes to get around in some circumstances, it also makes more sense to get around sometimes in a minimal electric car. Rather than extravagant and wasteful use of vehicles capable of carrying 5+ people and going vast distances at 100mph.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      This. For a local family hauler, it makes sense. Not terribly safe if you run into a SUV, but then, neither is a scooter.

      • 0 avatar
        brandloyalty

        Thanks for the agreement. Certainly these things are no match for a Suburban in a collision. And yet pedestrians, cyclists etc. manage to share the roads with Suburbans and even larger vehicles without outrageous carnage.

  • avatar
    TheEndlessEnigma

    “And no you certainly can’t have one in America.”

    I certainly don’t want one in America!

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    In a way this sort of car is already showing up in our cities. Car coop Smartcars and Prius C’s are a common sight in my city.

    If you could use something like the microcars for a price somewhere between the rental for a bicycle or Smartcar, I think they would see plenty of use. And our cities would be better for it.

    • 0 avatar
      baconator

      I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I would buy a modern Isetta bubble car or Renault Twizy if the goddamn feds would let me. I’m lucky to have a couple of gigantic V-8-powered dreadnoughts to drive around, but they’re completely overkill for my 1.5-mile round trip to the grocery store and the gym. And yet I don’t have the parking space for another “real” car.

  • avatar
    Jack Denver

    Putting aside the safety (nil), the thing is extremely ugly from a side view – it is a “stretch” Isetta and the proportions are all wrong. You also can’t tell which is the front and which is the back (indeed it would probably run equally well in either direction).

    Even in China this would be a safety nightmare since the rest of traffic increasingly consists of much sturdier vehicle built to Western (or almost Western) standards. In a lot of Chinese cities, light vehicles (bikes, electric bikes, scooters, tuk-tuks, etc.) run in their own well separated lanes so they are not competing with the Audi A6’s, fake Corolla rip-offs, heavy trucks, buses, etc. But if this vehicle had to ride in the big boy lane it would surely be a death trap.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    Lead acid battery? WTF

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    It looks as cute as a button. I think this will be a seller.

    It will the Chinese equivalent of a Wrangler, a “hey look at me, I’m cute in my cute car”.

  • avatar
    TR4

    Except the Isetta was not the original microcar. “Cyclecars” were quite popular in the 1910s and 1920s until affordable “real” cars like the Model T and Austin 7 came along.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclecar

  • avatar
    jeffzekas

    Another Chinese rip off? The Swiss announced THEIR electric Isetta a few years ago, but the Chinese beat them? Guess we shouldn’t be surprised.

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