Skip navigation

Driving Report: Is this an Ape?

created by |

The one or another enthusiast may be surprised, but don’t worry: At Piaggio, at least with the Ape they still use two-stroke engines. Their brother in spirit comes from North Rhine-Westphalia and goes by the name Tropos Able.

3.7 meters long, 1.4 meters wide: that’s how big the cargo space of some transporters is. And these are also the dimensions of the Tropos Able. All in all. In early summer, the first electric minivan was handed over from the Herne plant. Sales of around 400 vehicles are planned by the end of the year. At least that is what Mosolf, the parent company of Tropos Motors Europe, would like to see. Whether this will happen is still uncertain due to the Corona situation. Originally, around 800 Tropos were to be sold in 2020.

Technical miniature work

If you look at the bare figures, the new Tropos is miles behind the big E-transporters. It is powered by a maximum of two 13 kWh batteries. These enable under ideal conditions a range of up to 260 kilometers. Charging is simply done via a power socket; you will not find a type 2 or even a CCS connection on the battery. The top speed is a nice 61 km/h (only in the XT version), mind you, thanks to a power output of just 14 HP. There are seat mowers that have more power. But, but, but. Many of you will now rightly say: It always depens on the place of use.

And this is where little David becomes the conqueror of Goliath.

There is room for two Euro pallets

The Tropos unfolds its true potential in nimble bustle applications for example on a factory site or in the city center. A turning circle of a modest eight meters makes the Mini extremely maneuverable. On our test lap, the Tropos shows that there is a lot to be gained from 14 HP: From a standstill, it accelerates dynamically enough and, thanks to direct power steering, leaves nothing to be desired in terms of driving comfort on the track. Perhaps because of the minimal expectation, it makes maximum fun driving the van (around town) quietly and emission-free. There is also more than enough loading space: the rear end of the van can hold up to two Euro pallets with a total weight of 550 kilograms. That is considerable for this size.

The Able’s next strength lies in its versatility. The loading area can be designed in almost any way: a flatbed with a leaf grid or tarpaulin attachment, two different cargo boxes or a disinfection and hygiene superstructure, which works with dry steam and is also designed to kill corona viruses. Optionally, the Tropos can even be stylishly laminated. The possibilities here are almost unlimited.

Of course the van is not delivered without a portion of electrical gadgets. The standard equipment includes a rear-view camera and hill start assistance, recuperation (from 13kWh battery) and a radio with DAB reception.


Even the editor was at first inclined to make fun of Tropos Able. And he, too, had to realize that a robust transporter was hiding behind the cute facade. For small, quick jobs, the Tropos can be an alternative without having to give up anything. That’ the crux of the electric drive: too often, you have to make compromises. In this admittedly very special field of application, however, this is not the case.

To keep it short

The Tropos Able is probably one of the most compact electric transporters we’ve ever gotten our hands on. With its technical specifications there’s no record to break. And this doesn’t have to be at all. The little one cuts a very good figure in our test and in handling.