Watch out, BMW, a new German rival is on the scene: The sputtering, yet lovable Trabant is getting an electric makeover 25 years after the country’s reunification.
A power company is refitting the plucky little car built for the communist East’s proletariat with an electric motor, giving the vehicle an emission-free range almost equivalent to BMW AG’s high-tech i3 electric.
Technology firm ReeVOLT says it’s created the e-Trabant to show the environmental virtues of retrofitting existing vehicles with electric motors. The unit of utility WEMAG AG also sells electric versions of vehicles such as the Fiat 500 and Ford Ka. Driving the 38-horsepower electric Trabi, with no power steering and weak brakes, is a little like taking a bumper car onto the open road and stepping on the gas.