Would you drive a folding car?
Folding bikes are great. I’ve owned two inexpensive models and even used one of them in the snow. You can park them everywhere, keep them indoors in your apartment or house so they aren’t at risk of being stolen and take them on trains and buses. Germans are often spotted on them on holiday. I guess they bring them on boats or in their cars.
A folding car, however, makes me think of the Jetsons or some other comical view of the future as envisioned in the 1950s during the Space Race. But now the folding car has become a reality and if you’re in Europe, you may soon start spotting them on the street.
Named the Hiriko, the folding car was developed at MIT in the US, but built in Spain’s Basque country, where it gets its name, meaning ‘urban’ or ‘city’. That’s right: a folding car with a Japanese-sounding name, which is actually a European product with a Basque name.
The Hiriko was recently revealed at the EU headquarters in Brussels, where European Commission’s President, José Manuel Durao Barroso called it ‘an answer to the crisis’.
From a hiriko.com press release:
Projects such as the electric car by HIRIKO play an important role in responding to the crisis, for it combines new business possibilities with the creation of employment and social innovation.
–José Manuel Barroso
Cute and easy to park, the Hiriko is a fully electric, plug-in vehicle designed for the city, as its name suggests. Though it may have a passing resemblance to the Smart Car, the design is something completely new.
From Deutsche Welle:
This design choice explains how the car can be less than two meters (6.5 feet) long: the engine is split up and contained in the wheels, so it has four-wheel steering and four-wheel drive, powered by two lithium-ion batteries. In fact, each wheel can turn 90 degrees so the car can parallel park extremely easily.
Priced starting at only 12,500 euros ($16,000), the Hiriko tries to tackle the twin issues of environmentalism and saving money, something many hybrid and electric vehicles have failed to do.