Modern Living: The Witkars of Amsterdam

It looks like a cross between a golf cart and a moon buggy. It is popularly known as "the flying bathtub" and "the top hat on wheels." Its real name is Witkar—Dutch for white car—and it may just prove to be the biggest advance in inner-city transportation since trolleys took over from velocipedes.

Invented by an Amsterdam engineer named Luud Schimmelpennink —apparently no kin to the Dutch cigar manufacturer of that name—Witkar is a two-seater, drive-it-yourself electric vehicle. It purrs peacefully at up to 20 m.p.h. and 2.4 miles between strategically located stations where it can be recharged in five minutes. There...