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Mini electric vehicle makers take aim at Japan's 'kingdom of small cars'

Tokyo Motor Show draws affordable electrics from Switzerland, Thailand and China

Oliver Ouboter, chief operating officer of Swiss electric vehicle maker Micro Mobility Systems, introduces a model at the Tokyo Motor Show inspired by the 1950s bubble cars. (Photo by Kenji Kawase)

TOKYO -- Measuring less than two and a half meters long and with a door on its front rather than sides, the Microlino is an electric homage to the Italian "bubble car" of the 1950s. Its Swiss maker is betting it will be a hit in Japan.

"We realize most cars are overengineered," Oliver Ouboter, chief operating officer of Micro Mobility Systems, told the Nikkei Asian Review at the Tokyo Motor Show, which wrapped up earlier this month. "Our idea was to make a car that was ... between a motorbike and a car."

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