MUNICH -- The Trabant -- an icon of communist eastern Germany -- will make a comeback as an electric car concept at the Frankfurt auto show in September.
German manufacturer Herpa Miniaturmodelle GmbH plans to show a "New Trabi" prototype in Frankfurt in the hope of attracting investors willing to help relaunch a modern, environmentally friendly version of the classic city car in 2012.
Herpas updated Trabi has the square, boxy look of the original car, of which about 3 million were built between 1957 and 1991, but company spokesman Daniel Stiegler said it will not 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.
Herpa has released few technical details on the new Trabant. The company said it will have a rooftop solar panel for recharging its battery, a range of about 250km (about 156 miles) and weigh less than 1000kg (less than 2,200 pounds).
Stiegler said IAV Automotive Engineering, based in Berlin, is its partner for an electric powertrain.
Herpa is located in in Zwickau -- the same German county where the original Trabant factory was. The company, which makes model cars and airplanes, bought the Trabant copyright in 2007.
Herpa also is working with IndiKar for the Trabant project. IndiKar is a maker of specialty vehicles, vehicle components and prototypes, also based in Zwickau.