The Trabant, that smoke-belching icon of Cold War East Germany, will make a comeback as an electric car concept at the Frankfurt auto show in September.
German manufacturer Herpa Miniaturmodelle GmbH, which makes model cars and airplanes, now owns the name and plans to show a New Trabi prototype in Frankfurt in the hope of attracting investors willing to help launch a modern, environmentally friendly version in 2012.
Herpa's updated Trabi has the square, boxy look of the original car, of which about 3 million were built from 1957 to 1991. But company spokesman Daniel Stiegler said it won't be a retro car. "The New Trabi will be a stylish car with a history," he told Automotive News Europe. "It will be electrically powered because that is the trend."
The company said the new Trabant will have a rooftop solar panel for recharging its battery, have a range of about 156 miles, and will weigh less than 2,200 pounds.
Herpa is in Zwickau--the same German region as the original Trabant factory. The company bought the Trabant name in 2007.
(Source: Automotive News)