Fold-up car of the future unveiled at EU

Jan 24, 2012
A tiny revolutionary fold-up car designed in Spain's Basque country as the answer to urban stress and pollution was unveiled Tuesday before hitting European cities in 2013.

A tiny revolutionary fold-up car designed in Spain's Basque country as the answer to urban stress and pollution was unveiled Tuesday before hitting European cities in 2013.

The "Hiriko", the Basque word for "urban", is an electric two-seater with no doors whose motor is located in the wheels and which folds up like a child's collapsible buggy, or stroller, for easy parking.

Dreamt up by Boston's MIT-Media lab, the concept was developed by a consortium of seven small Basque firms under the name Hiriko Driving Mobility, with a prototype unveiled by European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso.

Demonstrating for journalists, Barroso clambered in through the fold-up front windscreen of the 1.5-metre-long car.

"European ideas usually are developed in the United States. This time an American idea is being made in Europe," consortium spokesman Gorka Espiau told AFP.

The "Hiriko", the Basque word for "urban", is an electric two-seater whose motor is located in the wheels and which folds up like a child's collapsible buggy, or stroller, for easy parking.

Its makers are in talks with a number of European cities to assemble the tiny cars that can run 120 kilometres (75 miles) without a recharge and whose speed is electronically set to respect city limits.

They envisage it as a city-owned vehicle, up for hire like the fleets of bicycles available in many European cities, or put up for sale privately at around 12,500 euros.

Several cities have shows interest, including Berlin, Barcelona, San Francisco and Hong Kong. Talks are underway with Paris, London, Boston, Dubai and Brussels.

The vehicle's four wheels turn at right angles to facilitate sideways parking in tight spaces.

The backers describe the "Hiriko" project as a "European social innovation initiative offering a systematic solution to major societal challenges: urban transportation, pollution and job creation."

Explore further: New solar power material converts 90 percent of captured light into heat

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Spanish fold-up car to be unveiled at EU

Jan 19, 2012

A tiny revolutionary electric fold-up car designed in Spain's Basque country as the answer to urban stress and pollution is to be unveiled next week before hitting Europe's cities in 2013.

Foldable robot scooter wows at Tokyo Motor Show

Dec 01, 2011

A foldable robot scooter controlled by a smart phone wowed visitors to the Tokyo Motor Show on Thursday as its makers unveiled what they hope will be the future of urban driving.

Ecotechnology for the smart cities

Dec 01, 2011

This alliance is generating a knowledge base on cities and ecotechnology; it will gradually be joined by various Basque and international organisations and companies capable of coming up with innovative solutions underpinned ...

IBM looks to take pain out of parking

Sep 28, 2011

US technology stalwart IBM and Internet startup Streetline on Wednesday will begin courting cities with a system designed to take the pain out of parking.

Recommended for you

Preparing for a zero-emission urban bus system

11 hours ago

In order to create a competitive and sustainable transport system, the EU must look to alternative fuels to replace or complement petrol and diesel. Not only will this reduce transport emissions but it will ...

Exploring the value of 'Energy Star' homes

11 hours ago

The numbers in neat columns tell—column by column, page by page—a story spread out across Carmen Carrión-Flores' desk at Binghamton University. It's a great story, she says; she just doesn't know how ...

Toward a networked energy future

Oct 29, 2014

February 1, 2050, is a good day for German electricity consumers. The breeze off the north coast is blowing so strongly that offshore wind farms and the wind turbines on land are running non-stop. Since it's ...

User comments : 6

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

meerling
not rated yet Jan 24, 2012
Looks very similar to a folding car that was shown with several doing a 'ballet' at one of the shows several years ago. I think those were single seaters though.
tarheelchief
not rated yet Jan 24, 2012
Hybrids and tiny cars cost far more than their production.Can there be cost savings when the price is so high?The Chinese or Indians can produce this car for under $4000.
kochevnik
1 / 5 (1) Jan 25, 2012
75 miles won't even get you around the San Francisco Bay Area once.
antialias_physorg
1 / 5 (1) Jan 25, 2012
75 miles won't even get you around the San Francisco Bay Area once.


It's also not for personal owneship but for a citybike like scheme - so you only need to factor in the range requirements for one trip, not a round trip. You grab one off the station close to your home, drive it to the charging station close to your destination and leave it there. When you want to go back you grab another one. 75 miles is plenty for a one way trip - even in the bay area.
MarkyMark
not rated yet Jan 28, 2012
75 miles won't even get you around the San Francisco Bay Area once.

It is however good enough for a city owned public hire vehicle like bikes are right now in sme places for a mall fee so you can do your grocery shopping or say go to work. Which if you re the article properly rather han just skimmed it till you got to the 75km part you would have known!
antialias_physorg
1 / 5 (1) Jan 28, 2012
And if you need extended range you just get one, drive it to the next depot 75 miles away and then switch over to a charged one there.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.