The Trabant name might not mean much here in Australia, but to anyone who has travelled to eastern Europe, especially some decades back, the vehicular icon of communist East Germany will no doubt be a familiar memory.
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So in an attempt to keep that memory alive, German manufacturer Herpa Miniaturmodelle will make a comeback for the nameplate this year with its "New Trabi" EV concept set to appear at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month.

The manufacturer hopes showing the prototype will attract sentimental investors and relaunch a modern, environmentally friendly version of the classic city car in 2012.

Herpa's 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," said Mr Stiegler. "It will be electrically powered because that is the trend."

And while Herpa have released few technical details on the new Trabant they did say it will have a rooftop solar panel for recharging its battery, similar to Prius, a range of about 250km and weigh less than 1000kg.


Berlin's IAV Automotive Engineering firm, based in Berlin, will partner Herpa Miniaturmodelle to supply the electric powertrain.

Herpa Miniaturmodell, which currently makes model cars and airplanes, bought the Trabant copyright in 2007.