In the age of the microchip and the microcomputer, it is understandable that other areas of technology are looking for smallness. In the case of cities, this makes sense as a microcar, for instance, is easier to park and maneuver, though creating something like a microbus, for example, would just be silly!
What are Microcars?
Microcars are designated as smaller than “city cars” or “subcompacts”, although the term is used rather loosely, a microcar can also be a city car. In the UK a microcar has to have less than 700cc worth of power or be powered by a battery. The lowest amount of cc this type of car can have is 49cc, which is the same amount you’d find in electric bike. The wheels must be between 6-8 inches.
Other differences include: Many microcars don’t even have a reverse gear. Some don’t technically have a door–it is, in fact, the bodywork that lifts up (seems rather cool). Microcars may be treated as motorcycles for insurance purposes. In some countries such as Austria, Belgium or France someone who banned through driving can still drive a microcar, though this is not currently the case in the US. Another advantage of microcars is parking. They are easier to park and easier to find a spot for.
Please note that some types of microcar are banned from highways altogether, for instance, quad bikes (also known as quadricycles).
Microtrucks are slightly more powerful than microcars (total power up to 1000cc). They are most popular China and Japan, as in the U.S. they’re not considered road legal. One of the most popular is the Japanese Kei truck, which weighs about 700Kg (1543lbs), about half the weight of VW Beetle, according to Conceptcarz.com. Another popular model is the Daihatsu Midget which slightly resembles the more well-known Tuk Tuk truck.
Even in the U.S. these trucks have picked up a following among groundskeepers on large estates, golf courses, and ranches.
A few years ago the many countries including the U.S. went through a min-moto and go-ped craze. The title of microbike seems to fit better with these vehicles as a category. As with microtrucks they aren’t suitable for the highway, which is just as well as it impossible to stay on them for any length of time. In terms of power, they range between 39 and 50cc. There are a number of opportunities to drive them on dirt tracks throughout the country or fail to drive them as the case may be.
One early minibike was the tote-goat (mini), by Bonham Corp. which packed a strong engine capable of towing fairly good sized trailers from point to point. Starting in 1959 and ending in 1970 these little beasts often topped out far below 10 mph. In the 80’s it wasn’t rare to see a pre-teen dashing about the family farm, fetching an empty hay wagon from one field to another.
A side note here: There is a number of uses of cc in this article. It can either stand for cubic centimeters or cylinder capacity, which generally speaking amounts to the same thing. It’s quite complicated to measure how much cylinder capacity an engine has, it all comes down to multiplying by pi and so on, but put simply, the bigger the engine the bigger the capacity. In other words, you need to know more about the engine that this micro-article can tell you to work it out!