Autocar drives electric Mia microbus, calls it "sheer novelty"

Pictured here is the three-seat electric microbus from French-German firm Mia Electric that was on display at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show and this year's Challenge Bibendum. With a central driving position, twin sliding doors, a rear-mounted electric motor and dent-resistant plastic panels, the Mia is oddly unique. It tips the scales at 1,786 pounds, has a listed range of 80 miles and comes packing a 13-horsepower motor. No, that's not a typo. Just thirteen horses are tasked with moving a near one-ton vehicle. Acceleration? How's 0 to 62 miles per hour by next century (34 seconds) sound? Top speed? That's listed at a reasonable 68 mph.

Autocar, which recently got to spend some time behind the wheel, says the prototype electric Mia microbus does not "bound enthusiastically towards the horizon." Rather, it's "just about" brisk enough for congested city traffic, but out on the open road, Autocar says its "acceleration feels disappointingly gradual." Autocar actually seems to praise the Mia's "modestly entertaining handling," saying that it "scoots around bends with some zeal."

In the end, Autocar walked away disappointed with the Mia microbus, saying that it's simply too expensive (£22,012 after incentives, around $34,986 U.S.) to truly compete against even the cheapest of Nissan Leafs. The reality here is that, once the Mia's "sheer novelty" wore off, Autocar couldn't help but notice its dull performance and lack of refinement. Just like we did.

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