Colibri electric inner city one-seater set for production in 2014


March 20, 2013

The Colibri electric urban vehicle – parking opportunities just doubled

The Colibri electric urban vehicle – parking opportunities just doubled

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Two seats and a gas engine too much? Then worry no longer inner-city traveler, you’re in luck. Thanks to the urban minded folks from Germany’s Innovative Mobility Automobile (IMA), the Colibri, an electric urban vehicle, has you covered. In a competition to see who can do the smallest electric German mover the best, the Colibri makes a strong case for the podium.

Born out of Jena, Germany, this compact inner-city solution is targeted as either a fleet vehicle or for use in a car sharing program. These options are enhanced by a tablet-based control system that allows users and administrators to easily add or delete users from a sharing system. Driver’s can also remotely access mission critical information such as the battery charge status or vehicle location using their smartphone via the tablet.

Designed around a hybrid space frame the Colibri is unique in the use of "gullwing" styled doors. This iconic Benz design element doesn’t just show well at the schnitzel stand, the doors also serve as weather protection devices in the event of rain or snow. And where horizontal swinging doors would trap occupants in more condensed situations the Colibri’s winged door arrangement allows for better ingress and egress. The manufacturer reports two Colibris will actually fit into one regular space rather nicely.

Capable of seating one the Calibri is among the few in its one-seat configuration. Given the car’s mandate as a short term fleet vehicle or sharing device, the singular seating system not only saves space but helps reduce overall weight and dimensions. Sporting a protruding central touch screen, visual information is presented in a most direct fashion. A sense of Formula One claustrophobia awaits drivers thanks to the narrow cockpit and central display.

With two electric motors developing 24 kW at peak power, a battery capacity of 6.5 kWh and a range of 110 km (69 miles), the Colibri is not intended as a long distance, let’s visit Aunt Helga type ride. Its lithium-iron-phosphate battery has a reported lifespan of 220,000 km (136,000 miles) or 8 years and is capable of reaching full charge in 2 hours on a household socket, or 80 percent in 20 minutes via a public charging station. When charged via ze German grid, the Colibri is responsible for just 29 grams of CO2 per kilometer according to IMA ... with zero local-emissions.

As expected the wee Colibri weighs in at a mere 440 kg (970 lbs). Capable of reaching speeds of 120 kmh (75 mph) the Colibri actually throws out respectable performance figures of 9.9 seconds to 100 kmh (60 mph), more than enough e-juice to transport the "1 bag and 2 crate" storage items specified for the trunk. More like a small shelf for your umbrella really.

The Colibri is set to enter production towards the end of 2014.

Source: Innovative Mobility Automobile GmbH

About the Author
Angus MacKenzie Born on the cold, barren Canadian plains of Calgary, Alberta, Angus MacKenzie couldn’t decide between marketing, automotives or an entrepreneurial path - so he chose all three. With an education in automotives and marketing, Angus has rebuilt the carburetor on his 1963 Rambler Ambassador twice, gotten a speeding ticket in an F430 once, and driven & photographed everything from Lamborghinis to Maseratis to various German and Asian designs. When not writing, Angus has for the past six years been Editor-in-Chief for elemente, an internationally recognized architecture/design magazine. All articles by Angus MacKenzie
zevulon: is getting 3 kw or so from a domestic supply really such an issue on your side of the Atlantic? An electric kettle is 2.5 kw and they seem to manage just fine. You'd typically have a 30A circuit in the kitchen to power the cooker and that'll give 6kw plus which seems more than adequate for the job at hand. Cé hé sin

I fail to understand why one would think that car sharing (An idea that would seam to keep the car in operation for extended periods) would combine well with the pathetically short range of an electric vehicle.


I agree with Slowburn ... After a couple of trips across the city the next driver(s) would be getting a much shorter limit on distance allowed. 60 odd miles looks reasonable until you start to divide it into several trips, not just one there-and-back commute.

The Skud

Cost is always the killer on these things. If it cost more then a nice motorcycle, I would buy the bike.

Rann Xeroxx

If they made it just a little bit longer they could put in a second seat behind the first, which could be used either for a friend, a child or the groceries. Surely that would make it more saleable.

Nick 1801

fully charging 6.5 kwh in 2 hours on a household outlet. 3.2kw through a 'household' outlet. i'm sure if you could fork over 15k for a custom 'household' outlet with extra wiring, circuit breakers and everything else needed to manage 3.2 kw of power going through wiring into a battery , then yea. you can call that 'household'. mind you at 110 volts in the u.s. that would mean 30 amps going through a wire. at 15 or less , all u.s. household circuits short out. at 15------if you are passing max current through your wiring in your house for 2 full hours, if you can avoid at not tripping your circuit breakers----you will succeed at eventually melting your wiring and starting an electrical fire that will destroy your 'household'.

yes, one of the reasons people don't buy electric cars is because the advertising is either an exaggeration or an outright lie. particularly with charging time to full pack, and range per hour of charing.


I think it is a good idea as an inner city commuter. I think a fuel cell (with some being developed are smaller and cost less) being a good range extender. I think the roof could use a few solar cells/panels (they too are getting smaller and more effecient).

I think it is good for those who live in the city but only travel around the city. It would help reduce pollution in the city; especially if the 'car port' they are parked in has solar panels and/or wind turbines to recharge the batteries.

Hopefully it won't cost as much as the Tango electric vehicle.


The wiring issues (US domestic) are addressed by the fact most houses today have at least one 220 VAC @ 20 Amp off of two phase opposed 115 VAC lines available for the electric dryer. Germany has standard outlet voltages of 220 - 240 VAC with 10 to 15 amp breakers... which could account for the seemily nonchalant assumption that 3+KW is commonly availble in the household.

Sam McRae

If you slowburn fail to see why EV's are perfect for car sharing and many other purposes, it's not others problem, it's yours.

Depending on the price but for me and many not being able to carry at least 4-6 cubic feet, makes it a non starter. Space costs little and adds so much usefulness.

But it is small but better designed EV's with, for this one as an example, just a 4kw range extending generator gives it unlimited range at well over 150mpg, just pop it on rear brackets or trailer hitch and the range problem disappears. Add I think 2 seats and decent cargo, 4 bags or so, adds little to cost but so much more in value.


All of the preceding comments including the clueless snotty comments have at least some merit, especially given the degree to which slowburn & others really miss the point. A solution that works would evolve to have a range of form factors for different users. The element not mentioned is the municipal part along the line of parking meters that act as a charging dock, parking spot, and an "intersection" for various users. Some would own their rides, some would rideshare, all would park & recharge before continuing on their way. The battery range, life, and importantly, the cost issues are all getting better. In the next 2 to 3 years far better LiFePo or very similar such lithium batteries should arrive on the market with charge densities initially 3 times greater, NO heating issues, and a life span some thing like 5 times longer and also at essentially the same price as today's batteries. Beyond that there are some intriguing lab toy ideas for fuel cells that MAY abruptly change the energy use "Landscape". In some respects this and similar urban car ideas are like Kodak's first try at a digital desktop picture frame. Unfortunately for Kodak, they were about 10 years too far ahead for full digital imaging solutions and the networking tools available to succeed. At some point, many people such as SlowClue will look back when all the right innovations are integrated and proclaim that they saw this coming and someone should have done this or that or whatever sooner.


A wonderful design. I have said for years that is what is needed. Just look at all the cars on the road with just one person in them....most of them. I would love one.


did i miss it? where is the mpg rating?


re; scooterdave

No wife, kids, friends, or pets a single seat vehicle makes sense. For those of us with a life and can't afford a second car we need additional seats even if it means driving to work alone in our seats 7 that is overflowing when we go to Grandma's on Sunday.



Please try to get an estimated price from the maker when you write such an article. I'm sure they can give you a ballpark or you can estimate one.


God help you if you fart in that car.....

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