Back in December 2007, we announced that BMW is looking into the possibility of building an electric car for the U.S market. Just a few months later, a BMW executive reported that BMW might go the electric route for the american market rather than hydrogen. Shortly after that, based on a rumor from Autoblog, we figured that, if BMW will revive the Isetta, it will not happen before 2012.
Well, it seems like we were right again. Autocar UK has just reported that a rear-engined city car could be called Isetta and will first arrive in American showrooms in 2012. BMW is kinda forced into making this car available to the U.S market because of a California regulation which stipulates that large auto makers to sell between a few hundred and a few thousand Zero Emission Vehicle every year starting in 2012. Under the Californian regulations, the Zero Emission Vehicles can either be a fuel cell or battery-powered vehicle with a range of over 200 miles, or an Advanced Technology, Partial Zero-Emission Vehicle (AT-PZEV) powered by a hybrid powertrain, by compressed natural gas (CNG) or by a methanol fuel cell.
The information has been confimed by BMW's CEO, Norbert Reithofer, who recently said the company “would be obliged to sell a Zero Emissions Vehicle under the US regulations and that a battery car was “the most likely answer”. That car being an all electric vehicle that could be sold under the Isetta brand.