THE MUCH-MALIGNED Trabant may be headed for a 21st-century revival, with two German companies banding together to bring the East German icon back as an all-electric city car.
The electric Trabant, or "Trabant nT", will debut in concept form at this year's Frankfurt Motor Show. Following the concept's unveiling, IndiKar and Herpa - the two companies heading the project - hope to attract investors to finance commercial production of the car.
Technical details such as range, maximum speed and charging-time have yet to be decided, but IndiKar says the Trabant nT will boast rooftop-mounted solar cells and modern EV technology.
"It will be an electric car with a solar panel roof, designed for the city and small trips," IndiKar head Ronald Gerschewski told a German newspaper.
"It's going to be simple, practical, and in the old tradition of the original,b ut it won't be a retro model.
"It will have the newest technology and be purely electric."
Although not officially billed as a retro model, the Trabant nT will feature exterior styling heavily influenced by the Soviet-era original. Outward similarities aside, the Trabant nT will be worlds apart from its predecessor.
The original Trabant (above) was built in East Germany from 1957 to 1991 and utilised a smokey two-stroke petrol motor with a notorious reputation for unreliability.
The all-electric Trabant nT will be a stark contrast to the pollutant-belching Trabants of yore.
Despite its reputation, the original car did at least have one claim to green-friendliness: its exterior body panels were all formed from an epoxy resin reinforced by waste cotton. This made it the first production vehicle in the world to utilise recycled organic materials in its construction.
The Trabant nT will be officially unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show, which begins on September 15.