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Trabant returns. Image by United Pictures.

Trabant returns
Communist-era Trabant throwback gets a new lease of life as an electric vehicle thanks to a toy company.


News homepage -> Trabant news

The Trabant, with its plastic bodywork, two-stroke engine and the trail of blue oil smoke from the engine was - and still is - a recognisable symbol of East German motoring. It's not universally loved, but there is a strong fan-base for the old 'Trabi'. As a result there is a possibility of a new, electric Trabant.

The seeds of this project were sown at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show where model car manufacturer Herpa showed a 1:10 scale design study for an updated Trabant, the 'newTrabi'. Such was the popularity of this concept that business partners were sought to develop a full-sized vehicle. The result is the Trabant nT, which was unveiled at Frankfurt this year.

Styling for the new car takes its cues from the estate version of the original Trabant, rather than the saloon. The grille, bumpers and front and rear lights also highlight the link with the past while the blacked-out windscreen and B-pillars add a contemporary touch. Instead of a 23bhp, two-cylinder, two-stroke engine there is a 60bhp electric motor. Electricity is stored in lithium ion batteries with enough capacity for a claimed 99 miles - the manufacturer claims that most customers will only use a third of that range on a regular basis. Replenishing the batteries over night from the mains is estimated to cost one Euro, or about 90p.

More investment is necessary to turn the concept into a viable road car though. If the search for business partners is successful, a production-ready model could be on show by 2011. The first cars could be on sale as early as 2012. In the meantime the Trabant nT concept will be on display in Frankfurt until 27th September.

John Lambert - 23 Sep 2009

2010 Trabant nT. Image by United Pictures.2010 Trabant nT. Image by United Pictures.2010 Trabant nT. Image by United Pictures.2010 Trabant nT. Image by United Pictures.2010 Trabant nT. Image by United Pictures.

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