Moving from A to B affects people’s lives significantly all the time. In sparse areas and bad weather, the microcar would be a rather obvious solution for commuting. But it has never really struck through. Why?
Have the microcars been bad? Has there been some kind of social issue with it? Has the market always changed (general income level after the war, price of gasoline after the oil crisis) so that people would just revert to the “default”, normal cars.
In a sense though, European cars have looked like minicars compared to American ones, especially in the fifties and sixties. American cars have become smaller since, and European ones have grown so the difference isn’t as marked anymore today.
Microcars could make a resurgence now again. Lithium batteries and brushless permanent magnet motors have changed the technical assumptions significantly. If the oil price rises again to over $100 per barrel, there might be a business case. Or, if the recession continues or deepens, people could switch to vehicles that have much lower owning and operating costs than regular cars, just to hold on to their apartment for example.
I have a bunch of solutions for designing a micro vehicle avoiding the problems of the above, but writing about them will be left for a later day.