Spanish fold-up car to be unveiled at EU

Jan 19, 2012
The Hiriko Citycar is folded during the presentation of the electric vehicle in Berlin in 2010.

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.

The "Hiriko", the Basque word for "urban", is a two-seater 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 first prototype to be unveiled next Tuesday to European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso.

"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.

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.

The project is described as a "European initiative offering a systematic solution to major societal challenges: , pollution and ".

Explore further: Low-cost, hydrogen-powered forklifts with rapid refueling, zero emissions coming soon

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2.4 / 5 (5) Jan 19, 2012
Fictional headline: Man killed when car unexpectedly folds up after fender-bender, with him still inside.

Driving around in the equivelant of a mobile trash compactor doesn't sound appealing to me. I once owned a Saturn 2-door coupe. I had one of the very first ones because I ordered it ahead of time. It had automatic seatbelts. It was cool at first, but imagine trying to get into the passenger seat with a pizza and the seatbelt trying to cross over you when you aren't ready. Then, when the car got older they started to malfunction. I would find it very difficult to trust a car that could fold up into the passenger compartment. Ever seen a car part that didn't eventually malfunction on at least one car?
3 / 5 (2) Jan 20, 2012
5 / 5 (1) Jan 20, 2012
It was cool at first, but imagine trying to get into the passenger seat with a pizza

this is a development for European costumers. Driving around with pizzas is an American problem.

I would find it very difficult to trust a car that could fold up into the passenger compartment.

Yet you have no troble trusting a car where ther brakes coudl malfunction or the gears could spontanously shift into reverse, or ...

Man killed when car unexpectedly folds up after fender-bender

If you look at the video VD provided: The passenger compartment does not compact (so there's no chance of being crushed). It simply realigns to a more space saving configuration when parked.
1 / 5 (1) Jan 20, 2012
Some people have no sense of humor at all. Jeez.

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