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Single-seat Colibri electric vehicle set for 2015 launch

Thu, 13 Mar 2014

If the 2014 Geneva Motor Show heralded the dawn of a new age of small cars, then the tiny Innovative Mobility Automobile (IMA) Colibri is well placed to take advantage of this new era.

The Colibri – which means hummingbird – is a small, single-seat, three-door electric vehicle that’s set to go on sale later this year. Prices for the entry-level Colibri are set to fall well below €10,000 (£8,340) plus battery rental charges, meaning it could go head-to-head with the likes of the new Citroen C1, Peugeot 108 and Toyota Aygo. Not to mention the innovative new Renault Twingo.

It's also set to be more sophisticated than its closest conceptual rival, the quirky Renault Twizy electric car.

Innovative Mobility Automobile

Colibri electric car: a spacious parking miracle

And while these cars do offer more seats, a more established brand and a sprawling dealer network, the Colibri’s tiny dimensions and electric powertrain might make it a surprisingly tempting proposition for city dwellers and those who commute alone.

The Colibri is being marketed by its German maker as an "agile city car", that’s "certainly comfortable" and offers a "spacious parking miracle". But these aren’t just throwaway statements, there’s a real sense that the Colibri has been thoroughly thought through.

How big is the Colibri electric vehicle?

The Colibri has a 68-mile range from a two-hour household charge

At 2.75m long, 1.18m wide and 1.30m tall, the Colibri’s "parking miracle" is that not only should it be easy to manoeuvre in tight spaces, but you can actually fit two cars in one single space. You just need to decide which of you will pay for the said parking bay.

To our eyes, the Colibri is more Japanese than European in its styling and we wouldn’t have been shocked to see either a Honda or a Toyota badge sitting on that sharp-styled front-end.

The doors, however... well, they’re very European. Mercedes-Benz to be precise, as the Colibri features a pair of ‘gullwing’ openings, which can be locked and unlocked via a smartphone.


Innovative Mobility Automobile


Will the Colibri electric car pass the EuroNCAP crash test?

Inside, the driver sits low, with a relaxed, almost racing-car driving position. And with the driver’s seat sitting within the Colibri’s rigid safety shell, its makers claim it will score a very high EuroNCAP crash test rating. Oh, and the seat lowers itself when you get in, before rising again when you need to get out. Which is very cool.

At its heart is a 24kW electric motor, providing a range of 68 miles from a two-hour household charge. Crucially, it’s also possible to recharge 80% of the batteries in 20 minutes from a public charging point.

IMA claims these batteries will last for 2,000 charges, the equivalent of 137,000 miles or eight years.

How fast is the Colibri electric vehicle?

Detractors may claim that £8k for a single-seat electric car is on the expensive side

And because it weighs just 440kg, the Colibri will sprint to 62mph in just under 10 seconds, before reaching a top speed of 75mph. Which doesn’t sound like much but should be fun in a car of this size.

The 180 litres of boot space are enough for a quick trip into town or for a daily commute, although the German company claims the Colibri offers potential commercial uses, too. IMA points to nursing duties and pizza delivery services as two examples.


Innovative Mobility Automobile


Colibri electric car: humming the right tune

Detractors may claim that £8k for a single-seat electric car is on the expensive side, especially when you consider the additional monthly battery rental. But the Colibri essentially started out as a three-wheeled bike, and with that taken into account it begins to make more sense.

It won’t suit everyone, but the Colibri’s racing-car driving position, small footprint, instant acceleration and neat styling certainly appeals to some of us. Small cars are making a big noise at the moment. And the Colibri could be humming the right tune.

On Bing: see pictures of the Innovative Mobility Automobile Colibri
Find out how much a used electric car costs on Auto Trader
The best electric cars: in pictures
'Charge rage' on the up for electric car owners
MSN Cars Green Motoring Guide

By Gavin Braithwaite-Smith, contributor, MSN Cars