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Fold-Up Electric Car in 2013?

Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Media Lab has created an electric vehicle (EV) prototype that folds up and multiple fit together like shopping carts, and is meant solely for urban driving. Originally called CityCar but now named the Hiriko project, this EV was presented in Brussels last week to Durao Barroso, president of the European Commission and is slated for production in 2013.  

Here are the details on this mini-EV:

  • The two-seater has a pod-like design and four-wheel drive.
  • Both driver and passenger enter through the windshield, which swings upward.
  • Its 60-mile range means it’s meant solely for urban driving.
  • These EVs will work much like a bike-sharing program, alerting users when one becomes available.
  • Hiriko is 100 percent electric and electronic, with no mechanical controls. Its lithium-ion battery pack is aimed to work with a smart electric grid that uses clean, renewable energy sources.
  • Because this EV folds up and multiple fit together like shopping carts, three of them can use a parking space typically needed for one standard sedan.
  • It’s equipped with a “state of the art information system for permanent communication in an intelligent city environment,” which means your smart phone can find it.
  • Because Hiriko is powered by four in-wheel electric motors that have independent regenerative braking systems, steering and suspensions — all of which are digitally controlled — the car will be able to spin on its own axis, making maneuvering into tight parking spaces easy.

 

The image below shows a rendering of Hiriko in action near New York's Guggenheim Museum — with three others folded up and parked toward the right.

Photo and image courtesy of Hiriko