Messerschmitt’s classic 3-wheel microcar is back in gas and electric variants

After World War II, German aircraft manufacturer Messerschmitt was temporarily not allowed to manufacture aircraft. So it turned its resources to making other products and landed on the design of the Messerschmitt KR200, or Kabinenroller (Cabin Scooter) – a three-wheeled bubble car designed by the aircraft engineer Fritz Fend.

More than 50 years after the production was discontinued, the legendary Messerschmitt Kabinenroller came to life again as an electric-assist two-man Velomobile, under the name Messerschmitt KR-202 Sport. A couple of years ago, a German-Spanish company put the car back into production, albeit as an odd structure with an electric pedal, and the project ended in financial problems.

Messerschmitt's classic 3-wheel microcar is back in gas and electric variants
The 3-wheel scooter maintains unprecedented aerodynamic design close to airplane. Credit: Messerschmitt Werke

That’s why the project principal Achim Adlfinger used the downtime of the COVID-19 pandemic to develop the new KR-202 Sport and KR-E5000 fully powered microcars. Both gas and electric variants of an ultralight roadster pay homage to the original Kabinenrollers of the 1950s and 60s.

Both new Messerschmitt models feature fiberglass bodywork atop a hot-dipped galvanized steel and aluminum honeycomb hybrid chassis. The 3-wheel scooter maintains an unprecedented aerodynamic design reminiscent of an airplane. The most striking thing about the body design, in addition to its two headlights, is the two 10-inch front wheels that protrude completely from the chassis. The KR comes equipped with a simple cockpit with gauges, an F1-style steering wheel, and a handbrake.

Messerschmitt's classic 3-wheel microcar is back in gas and electric variants
The KR comes equipped with a simple cockpit with gauges, F1-style steering wheel and handbrake. Credit: Messerschmitt Werke

The Messerschmitt KR-202 Sport model is the gasoline version that relies on a 7.3-hp 125cc one-cylinder engine and CVT automatic transmission to deliver speeds up to 56 mph (90 km/h). It weighs around 220 kg and has a range of 100 miles (160 km), thanks to its 6-liter gas tank.

The Messerschmitt KR-5000 model is the electric version, with a very similar 6.7 hp (5kW) electric motor and 56 mph (90 km/h) top speed. The lithium-iron-phosphate battery with a capacity of just 1.4 kWh will offer a range of 50 miles (80 km). However, a second battery can be added to achieve the same range as the fuel version: 160 km. The single-battery electric roadster weighs 195 kg.

It is not a prototype: the first units are already on sale. Messerschmitt Werke is currently offering the KR-202 model for the special price starting at €10,950 (about $13,160), and the new KR-E5000 Kabinroller costs €12,950 ($15,560) – plus another €690 for transfer fees.

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